• cancer;
  • oncology;
  • couples and breast cancer;
  • psychosocial;
  • recruitment


Objective: Despite mounting evidence supporting the use of psychosocial interventions to promote adaptation to cancer, enrolling participants into these interventions is challenging. This is particularly salient for couple-based interventions, and newer, more targeted recruitment strategies to increase enrollment are needed. However, there have been few published empirical studies focused specifically on recruitment-related variables associated with enrollment into these types of interventions. To better understand how to encourage participation in couple-based psychosocial interventions for cancer, we examined facilitating and impeding factors to enrollment into a couple-based intervention for women with early-stage breast cancer.

Method: In this sample of 99 women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, patient demographic variables and method of approaching eligible patients were examined as predictors of enrollment into a randomized controlled trial comparing couple-based relationship enhancement with treatment as usual.

Results: Results indicated that women were more likely to enroll if they were contacted at home or at a follow-up medical appointment rather than when first diagnosed at a busy multidisciplinary clinic; they were also more likely to enroll the closer they lived to the research facility.

Conclusions: In addition to decreasing participant burden, timing and setting of recruitment efforts may have important implications for enhancing participation rates in couple-based intervention studies for cancer. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.