Retaining consumer participation in the Fremantle Primary Prevention Study: a general practice team based cardiovascular risk reduction study

Bulsara C, Brett T, Seaman K, Arnold-Reed D


Recruitment and retention of participants to lifestyle modification studies can be challenging within a primary care setting. The management of factors such as travel, busy lifestyles and lack of regular follow up of participants can result in considerable attrition rates over the lifecycle of the project. The aim of the study was to understand from a research participant perspective the perceived barriers and facilitators in retaining community participants in primary health care research. This is a qualitative study with data collected from four focus groups facilitated at the end of each of three community forums focusing on sharing the findings of the Fremantle Primary Prevention Study. Overall twelve focus groups were facilitated with participants that had usual care or who were in the intervention arm of the Fremantle Primary Prevention study. Group size ranged from 6 to 10 participants with the interviewer following a semi structured focus group schedule. Thematic analysis extracted common themes from each focus group around contributing factors to participation. The key message was that relationships built over a longer time period with a GP, practice nurses and other practice staff was an important factor in retention of participants. In addition, ease of travel, convenience and regular check ups with the practice were all significant enticement to remain in a study over the course of the research. Being part of their regular GP practice’s involvement in a study was clearly worthwhile as an incentive for participants and offers hope for practice-based research networks undertaking other community-based studies in the future.


Primary health care, consumer participation , CVD risk reduction, General Practice

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