Recruiting adult participants to physical activity intervention studies using sport: a systematic review.
BMJ open sport & exercise medicine 2017 ; 3: e000231.
PubMed ID : 28761714
PMCID : PMC5530105
To undertake a systematic review of the effectiveness of recruitment mechanisms for engaging and retaining target participants in sports interventions to promote physical activity behaviour change in adults.
A narrative systematic review of published studies providing details of the effectiveness of recruitment techniques used in interventions aimed at increasing physical activity via sport in adults.
Searches were conducted using five electronic databases, clinical trial registers, grey literature and snowballing from reference lists. All papers published in the English language were considered. The search was completed in November 2015.
All articles providing information on the recruitment of adults into interventions involving sport and reporting physical activity or participation outcomes were included.
Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. The quality of recruitment reporting across included studies was generally classified as poor, lacking detailed descriptions of recruitment processes and providing insufficient reporting of recruitment outcomes. There was a distinct recruitment bias for more affluent, white, middle-aged women. Active-only recruitment techniques appeared to achieve a participant sample with more representative demographic characteristics than passive approaches.
Due to inadequate reporting and evaluation, the mechanisms for achieving effective recruitment and engagement in sport, particularly in hard-to-reach groups, are still unclear. Independent of recruitment mode, creating an intervention and context that reflect the interests and motivations of the target audience presents a promising area. There is an urgent need for more robust evaluation design and reporting of sports interventions.