African Americans (AAs) are 20% more likely to develop serious psychological distress compared to Whites but are less likely to use mental health services. The study objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment strategies to engage AA fathers in a mental health intervention. Using the community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, a community-academic partnership (CAP) developed and implemented direct and indirect referral strategies to engage AA fathers in a mental health intervention. Direct referral strategies focused on community partner identification of potentially eligible participants, providing information about the study (i.e., study flyer), and referring potential participants to the study. Indirect referrals included posting flyers in local businesses frequented by AA men, radio advertisements, and social media posts from community organizations. From January to October 2019, 50 direct and 1388 indirect referrals were documented, yielding 24 participants screened and 15 enrolled. Of all participants screened, 58% were referred through indirect referral, 38% were referred directly by community partners, and 4% of the participants were referred through both direct and indirect referrals. Twenty percent of those exposed to the direct referral methods and 1% of those exposed to the indirect referral methods were enrolled. The indirect referrals accounted for 60% of enrollment, whereas the direct referrals accounted for 33.3% of enrollment. Collaborating with the community partners to engage hard-to-reach populations in mental health studies allowed for broad dissemination of recruitment methods, but still resulted in low participant accrual. Additional focus on increasing direct referral methods appears to be a fruitful area of CBPR.
- African Americans
- community-based participatory research
- mental health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health