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Issues in Recruiting and Retaining Asian American Breast Cancer Survivors in a Technology-Based Intervention Study

Im, Eun-Ok, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN; Kim, Sangmi, PhD, MPH; Xu, Shu, MSN, RN; Lee, Chiyoung, MSN, RN; Hamajima, Yuko, MSN, RN; Inohara, Ayako, MSN, RN; Chang, Kathleen, BA; Chee, Eunice, BSE; Chee, Wonshik, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000657
Article: PDF Only

Background Difficulties in recruiting and retaining Asian Americans in traditional research have been well documented. Despite an increasing number of technology-based cancer studies among racial/ethnic minorities, little is still known about potential issues in recruiting and retaining racial/ethnic minority cancer survivors for technology-based intervention research.

Objective This discussion article aims to examine issues in recruiting and retaining a group of racial/ethnic minorities—Asian American breast cancer survivors—for a technology-based intervention study.

Methods The parent study is an ongoing large-scale, national-scope, technology-based intervention study among a target number of 330 Asian American breast cancer survivors. During the recruitment and retention process, research diaries were written by research team members, and the written records of weekly research team meetings were kept. The written records were analyzed using a content analysis. Then, the themes were used to support the discussion points made in the article.

Results There existed subethnic differences in research participation; it was easier to recruit Chinese participants compared with other subethnic groups. The use of culturally matched research team members and multiple languages was essential. Gatekeepers were also elemental for recruitment and retention. Various motivation strategies were needed to retain the participants. Each subethnic group used different communication apps. Finally, trust building was essential to retain the participants in the intervention.

Conclusions Researchers need to consider these practical issues in future technology-based intervention research.

Implications for Practice These issues need to be considered in future program/intervention development and implementation among racial/ethnic minority cancer survivors.

Author Affiliation: School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (Drs Im, Kim, and W. Chee; Mss Xu, Lee, Hamajima, Inohara, and Chang); and North Carolina State University, Raleigh (Ms E. Chee).

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NCI/NINR, 1R01CA203719).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN, School of Nursing, Duke University, 307 Trent Dr, Durham, NC 27710 (

Accepted for publication August 9, 2018.

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