Randomized Study of Survey Recruitment Strategies for Parents of Autistic Children

J Pediatr Health Care. 2022 Sep-Oct;36(5):470-473. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2022.05.008. Epub 2022 Jun 12.


Introduction: This study aimed to compare phone, email, or text message recruitment strategies for engaging parents of autistic children in an online survey.

Method: In this randomized study, a sample of 1,624 parents of autistic children spectrum disorder (autism) from an integrated health system in Southern California were sent an initial mailed letter and email simultaneously for baseline survey outreach. Then, participants were randomly assigned to one of three follow-up recruitment groups: phone, email, or text message. We compared the efficacy of recruitment strategies in multivariate models.

Results: All three follow-up methods were equally effective for eliciting a survey response. Parents of girls were less likely to respond to survey outreach attempts than parents of boys.

Discussion: Multiple modalities of survey recruitment, including digital and mobile approaches, effectively recruit parents of children in research.

Keywords: Internet research; Survey; autism spectrum disorder; recruitment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder* / therapy
  • Child
  • Electronic Mail
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Text Messaging*