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“You Can Help People”: Adolescents’ Views on Engaging Young People in Longitudinal Research


  • Supported by Sydney Medical School Foundation. Each author would also like to acknowledge their respective departmental affiliations. Cooper Robbins and Skinner: Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health; Rawsthorne: Department of Social Work & Policy Studies; Paxton and Hawke: School of Rural Health; Steinbeck: Department of Adolescent Medicine.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Spring C. Cooper Robbins, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. E-mail:


We sought to discover adolescents’ thoughts about participation in longitudinal research and identify recruitment and retention strategies that were meaningful to them. We conducted seven focus groups with 10–15-year-olds in two large rural centers in New South Wales, Australia, and all focus groups were digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Adolescents discussed factors salient to their involvement in focus groups, as well as factors that may influence involvement in a longitudinal study. At the outset of the focus groups, adolescents had a positive view of “research,” but were reluctant to engage in research that involved biologic samples. Effective recruitment of adolescents requires an appreciation of motivators, and time and resources to extend potential participants’ understanding.