Social media recruitment for mental health research: A systematic review

Catherine Sanchez, Adrienne Grzenda, Andrea Varias, Alik S. Widge, Linda L. Carpenter, William M. McDonald, Charles B. Nemeroff, Ned H. Kalin, Glenn Martin, Mauricio Tohen, Maria Filippou-Frye, Drew Ramsey, Eleni Linos, Christina Mangurian, Carolyn I. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Social media holds exciting promise for advancing mental health research recruitment, however, the extent and efficacy to which these platforms are currently in use are underexplored. Objective: A systematic review was conducted to characterize the current use and efficacy of social media in recruiting participants for mental health research. Method: A literature review was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsychINFO. Only non-duplicative manuscripts written in the English language and published between 1/1/2004–3/31/2019 were selected for further screening. Data extracted included study type and design, participant inclusion criteria, social media platform, advertising strategy, final recruited sample size, recruitment location, year, monetary incentives, comparison to other recruitment methods if performed, and final cost per participant. Results: A total of 176 unique studies that used social media for mental health research recruitment were reviewed. The majority of studies were cross-sectional (62.5%) in design and recruited adults. Facebook was overwhelmingly the recruitment platform of choice (92.6%), with the use of paid advertisements being the predominant strategy (60.8%). Of the reviewed studies, substance abuse (43.8%) and mood disorders (15.3%) were the primary subjects of investigation. In 68.3% of studies, social media recruitment performed as well as or better than traditional recruitment methods in the number and cost of final enrolled participants. The majority of studies used Facebook for recruitment at a median cost per final recruited study participant of $19.47. In 55.6% of the studies, social media recruitment was the more cost-effective recruitment method when compared to traditional methods (e.g., referrals, mailing). Conclusion: Social media appears to be an effective and economical recruitment tool for mental health research. The platform raises methodological and privacy concerns not covered in current research regulations that warrant additional consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number152197
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this work was supported in part by grants from the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (Robert Wood Johnson) and NIMH ( R01MH105461 ) to Dr. Rodriguez and NIMH ( R01MH112420 ) to Dr. Mangurian and NIH ( DP2CA225433 ) to Dr. Linos. The authors further thank Farifteh F. Duffy, Ph.D., and Diana Clarke, Ph.D., of the American Psychiatric Association, for critical administrative and technical assistance throughout preparation.

Funding Information:
Dr. Grzenda is funded, in part, by a research fellowship grant from the APA/Foundation.Drs. Widge has pending patent applications related to electrographic markers and brain stimulation methods to ameliorate mental illness. Dr. Widge has received device donations and consulting income from Medtronic and consulting income from Livanova and Circuit Therapeutics.Dr. Kalin has received research support from NIMH; he has served as a consultant for CME Outfitters, the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, the Skyland Trail Advisory Board, the EArly the Early Adversity Research External Scientific Advisory Board at the University of Texas-Austin and for Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated; and he receives remuneration from APA Publishing as Editor in Chief of the journal The American Journal of Psychiatry.Dr. Nemeroff has received grants or research support from NIH and the Stanley Medical Research Institute; he has served as a consultant for Bracket (Clintara), Dainippon Pharma, Fortress Biotech, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Janssen Research and Development, Magstim, Prismic Pharmaceuticals, Sumitomo Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Sunovion, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Takeda, TC MSO, and Xhale; he has served on scientific advisory boards for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), Bracket (Clintara), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Skyland Trail, and Xhale and on directorial boards for ADAA, AFSP, and Gratitude America; he is a stockholder in AbbVie, Antares, BI Gen Holdings, Celgene, Corcept Therapeutics, OPKO Health, Seattle Genetics, and Xhale; he receives income or has equity of $10,000 or more from American Psychiatric Publishing, Bracket (Clintara), CME Outfitters, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Magstim, Takeda, and Xhale; and he holds patents on a method and devices for transdermal delivery of lithium (patent 6,375,990B1) and a method of assessing antidepressant drug therapy via transport inhibition of monoamine neurotransmitters by ex vivo assay (patent 7,148,027B2).Dr. Mangurian receives support from NIH, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the California Health Care Foundation, and Genentech. She is a founding member of TIME'S UP Healthcare, but receives no financial compensation from that organization. In 2019, she has received one-time speaking fees from Uncommon Bold.Preparation of this work was supported in part by grants from the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (Robert Wood Johnson) and NIMH (R01MH105461) to Dr. Rodriguez and NIMH (R01MH112420) to Dr. Mangurian and NIH (DP2CA225433) to Dr. Linos. The authors further thank Farifteh F. Duffy, Ph.D. and Diana Clarke, Ph.D. of the American Psychiatric Association, for critical administrative and technical assistance throughout preparation. This article is derived from work done on behalf of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and remains the property of the APA.

Funding Information:
Dr. Carpenter has served as a consultant for Magstim, Feelmore Labs, and Neuronix, and has received research clinical trial support from Cervel, Janssen, NeoSync, and Neuronetics. Dr. McDonald has research contracts from Stanley Foundation, Soterix, Neuronetics, NeoSync and Cervel Neurotherapeutics. He is an ad hoc member of several NIMH and NINDS study sections. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Research and Quality representing ECT and Neuromodulation Therapies. Dr. McDonald is compensated as the chair of the DSMB for the NIA multicenter study. He receives royalties from Oxford University Press to co-edit a book on the Clinical Guide to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Treatment of Depression. He is a paid consultant for Signant Health. He has endowed chair funded by the JB Fuqua Foundation. He is an employee of Emory University School of Medicine.

Funding Information:
Dr. Mangurian receives support from NIH , Doris Duke Charitable Foundation , the California Health Care Foundation , and Genentech . She is a founding member of TIME'S UP Healthcare, but receives no financial compensation from that organization. In 2019, she has received one-time speaking fees from Uncommon Bold.

Funding Information:
Dr. Grzenda is funded, in part, by a research fellowship grant from the APA/Foundation .

Funding Information:
Dr. Nemeroff has received grants or research support from NIH and the Stanley Medical Research Institute ; he has served as a consultant for Bracket (Clintara), Dainippon Pharma, Fortress Biotech, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Janssen Research and Development, Magstim, Prismic Pharmaceuticals, Sumitomo Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Sunovion, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Takeda, TC MSO, and Xhale; he has served on scientific advisory boards for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), Bracket (Clintara), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Skyland Trail, and Xhale and on directorial boards for ADAA, AFSP, and Gratitude America; he is a stockholder in AbbVie, Antares, BI Gen Holdings, Celgene, Corcept Therapeutics, OPKO Health, Seattle Genetics, and Xhale; he receives income or has equity of $10,000 or more from American Psychiatric Publishing, Bracket (Clintara), CME Outfitters, Intra-Cellular Therapies, Magstim, Takeda, and Xhale; and he holds patents on a method and devices for transdermal delivery of lithium (patent 6,375,990B1) and a method of assessing antidepressant drug therapy via transport inhibition of monoamine neurotransmitters by ex vivo assay (patent 7,148,027B2).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Recruitment
  • Research
  • Social media

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