Recruiting for addiction research via Facebook

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.

This study aimed to examine the feasibility of recruiting participants to addiction research via Facebook.

Design and Methods.

Participants were recruited via an advertisement on Facebook, a local research register and university psychology courses. Participants completed a self-report survey regarding substance use, history of mental health issues and current psychological distress.

Results.

The 524 participants recruited via Facebook cost $1.86 per participant; and 418 participants were recruited via more traditional methods. There were significantly fewer women in the Facebook sample compared with the non-Facebook sample (χ2 = 196.61, P < 0.001), but no differences on age. Significantly more Facebook participants reported current use of tobacco (women: Facebook = 57%, non-Facebook = 21%, χ2 = 39.71, P < 0.001; men: Facebook = 62%, non-Facebook = 21%, χ2 = 32.429, P < 0.001) and cannabis (women: Facebook = 26%, non-Facebook = 7%, χ2 = 14.364, P < 0.001; men: Facebook = 46%, non-Facebook = 24%, χ2 = 6.765, P < 0.01). They also reported significantly more harmful use of tobacco [women: F degrees of freedom (d.f.) = 6.07, P < 0.05; men: F(d.f.) = 9.03, P < 0.01] and cannabis [women: F(d.f.) = 11.00, P < 0.01; men: F(d.f.) = 6.40, P < 0.05]. The Facebook sample contained a higher percentage of high-severity cannabis users (women: Facebook = 24%, non-Facebook = 4%, χ2 = 18.12, P < 0.001; men: Facebook = 43%, non-Facebook = 16%, χ2 = 10.00, P < 0.01) and reported significantly more severe depressive symptoms [women: F(d.f.) = 26.38, P < 0.001; men: F(d.f.) = 7.44, P < 0.05].

Discussion and Conclusions.

Through Facebook, we were able to capture a greater proportion of people with high-severity substance use and mental health issues and were able to capture a greater and more severe range of substance use behaviours. This suggests social networking sites are efficient, cost-effective ways to recruit large numbers of participants, with relevant behaviours and conditions, to addiction research. [Thornton LK, Harris K, Baker AL, Johnson M, Kay-Lambkin FJ. Recruiting for addiction research via Facebook. Drug Alcohol Rev 2016;35:494–502]

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles