Determinants of participation in an epidemiological study of preterm delivery

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1999 Jan;13(1):114-25. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3016.1999.00156.x.


We describe the study design and patterns of participation for a cohort study of preterm delivery, focused on genital tract infections, nutrition, tobacco use, illicit drugs and psychosocial stress. Women are recruited at 24-29 weeks' gestation from prenatal clinics at a teaching hospital and a county health department. We recruited 57% of the first 1843 eligible women; 29% refused and 8% could not be contacted. White women were somewhat more likely to participate than African-American women (61% vs. 54% respectively). More notable differences were found comparing teaching hospital and health department clinics (71% vs. 47% participation respectively), with the health department clinic having a greater proportion refuse (24% vs. 33%) and more women who could not be contacted (4% vs. 11%). Participation was affected only minimally by day or timing of recruitment, but inability to contact diminished substantially as the study continued (13-0%). Refusals were largely unrelated to patient attributes. Lower education predicted inability to contact. Risk of preterm delivery was 14% among recruited women, 10% among women who refused, and 15% among women whom we were not able to contact, demonstrating that, overall, risk status was not lower among recruited women.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / epidemiology*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design*
  • Socioeconomic Factors