Attrition in longitudinal research negatively affects statistical power, disrupts statistical stability, and can produce unwanted bias.
To investigate factors associated with shorter length of study participation and lower rates of study completion (ie, attrition) in a large, multisite, longitudinal, randomized, clinical trial examining the efficacy of a Web-based family problem-solving treatment following traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adolescence.
Five major trauma centers in the central and western regions of the United States.
Children (N = 132) aged 12 to 17 years hospitalized for complicated mild to severe TBI within the previous 6 months.
Completers had a higher primary caregiver education and higher family income than noncompleters, whereas ethnicity, latency to baseline assessment, and intervention group were not significantly associated with study completion.
This is the first study that has specifically examined factors of attrition in a pediatric TBI population. The results suggest that research on pediatric TBI populations may be biased toward higher-income families and highlights the importance of designing studies with increased awareness of the impact of participant demographic factors.
Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora (Mr Blaha and Ms Arnett); Children's Hospital Colorado & University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora (Dr Kirkwood); Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital & Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Taylor); MetroHealth Medical Center & Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Stancin); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Dr Brown); and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center & University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Wade).
Corresponding Author: Robert Z. Blaha, MA, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Children's Hospital Colorado, 13123 E. 16th Ave, B285, Aurora, CO 80045 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This work was supported in part by (1) NIH grant R01-MH073764 from the National Institute of Mental Health, (2) a grant from the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Research Program, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury Program, and (3) a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133B090010-01 (the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and endorsement by the Federal Government cannot be assumed).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.