#SER2020: DLH Researchers Investigate Predictors of Incomplete Study Enrollment

#SER2020, the Society for Epidemiologic Research’s 54th annual conference, will be held virtually from December 16 – 18, 2020.

DLH research scientists W. Braxton Jackson II and M. Elizabeth Hodgson will present a poster titled “Sister Study: Predictors of Incomplete Enrollment in a Prospective Cohort of Breast Cancer”.

The Sister Study is a DLH-supported NIEHS examination of environmental and familial risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases in a cohort of sisters of women who have had breast cancer. The study design required completing two telephone interviews and a home visit. While over 50,000 women enrolled and completed all required activities, several thousand completed only some of these activities and thus were not fully enrolled in the study. The authors explored the data to identify predictors of incomplete enrollment, hoping to enhance future cohort retention efforts.

Multiple characteristics were shown to independently predict partial enrollment: timing of enrollment (late vs early recruitment period), age, race/ethnicity, marital status, history of other cancer, current smoking, and perceived stress. Future studies may consider implementing tailored strategies to ensure full participation by women with characteristics that imply an increased risk of drop-out during the enrollment process. Maximizing retention is vitally important in longitudinal studies, as dropouts can raise costs, strain resources, and could endanger the statistical validity of results.

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