Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal

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Purpose: To identify barriers and discuss strategies for recruitment of older Chinese immigrants into clinical research studies.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). PubMed, WEB of Science, CINAHL Plus, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched from 2001 to 2014. Empirical studies with Chinese immigrants aged 60 or older were identified and analyzed. Numerical analysis, such as calculation of response rates as indexes for recruitment outcomes, was conducted. Content analyses for recruitment barriers were abstracted.

Results: Thirteen studies of 4753 subjects were analyzed. Response rates ranged from 39% to 99%. Recruitment barriers include younger old age (i.e., 60-70 years old), low health literacy, longer length of stay in the US, limited English speaking ability, low acculturation, time constraints, inadequate transportation, social stigma about diseases, and mistrust of researchers.

Discussion: Recruitment can be facilitated by overcoming the aforementioned barriers, which include the following strategies: 1) using convenience sampling methods, particularly personal referral; 2) using special techniques to recruit younger subgroup of Chinese elders, such as doing outreach on holidays or weekends; 3) communicating effectively using participants’ native language; 4) exercising cultural competency; 5) establishing relationships of trust with participants and community leaders; 6) answering misconceptions about clinical trials; 7) providing incentives for participation; and 8) proper selection of research and interview locations.