An Examination of Incentive Strategies to Increase Participation in Outcomes Research for an Adolescent Inpatient Unit

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Abstract

Tracking adolescent outcomes after inpatient hospitalization is important in informing clinical care for this age group, as inpatient care is one of the most expensive treatment modalities. This study examined 4 incentive strategies used to maintain adolescent participation in follow-up research (at 6, 12, and 18 mo) after their discharge from the hospital (N=267). A generalized estimation equation approach was taken to investigate whether different incentive strategies predicted adolescent completion of the follow-up assessments at each time point. Findings demonstrate that implementation of social worker contact significantly differed from other incentive strategies in increasing adolescent completion of follow-up assessments (Z=2.51, P=0.012) over the 3 time points, even when controlling for age and sex. Although these findings ultimately need to be confirmed through a randomized controlled study of incentive strategies, they provide preliminary support for the notion that relational incentives, such as maintaining contact with a member of the clinical team at the hospital, may be particularly important in promoting adolescent participation in outcomes research.

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