Recruiting South Asians into a UK Mental Health Randomised Controlled Trial: Experiences of Field Researchers

Gillian E Brown, Adrine Woodham, Max Marshall, Graham Thornicroft, George Szmukler, Max Birchwood, Ayesha Waquas, Simone Farrelly, Waquas Waheed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


Introduction: Despite a higher prevalence of mental disorders and poorer outcomes, ethnic minorities have low participation in mental health research in the UK. This restricts the generalisability of results and leads to health inequalities. It is important to identify barriers to recruitment and develop strategies to overcome them. Methods: Field researchers recruiting on the Northwest site of the CRIMSON trial kept research diaries on the recruitment process of the South Asians. Challenges in recruiting them were reflected on by researchers and effective strategies employed were documented. Diary entries were kept for all participants and those who refused. Thematic analysis was carried out on the diary accounts and common themes documented. Results: There were 46 South Asian service users eligible to trial participation. Field researchers were able to approach 32 (70 %) service users and out of these 23 (50%) were recruited. From these 23 recruited participants, 13 were deemed to have cultural issues requiring researchers to devise strategies beyond the standard recruitment procedures, remaining 10 did not present with any cultural issues. Diary entries for the 13 participants with cultural issues and 9 that refused to participate were available. Thematic analysis resulted in 12 themes with provision of translated materials, availability of interpreters and family involvement emerging as the main themes. Conclusions: The identified barriers and solutions can be used in designing future research. Staff training and strategies can be planned in advance thus pre-empting recruitment shortfalls. This will enhance ethnic participation and help bring down ethnic health disparities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of racial and ethnic health disparities
Early online date18 Jun 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2014


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