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.