Social networking site usage among childhood cancer survivors - a potential tool for research recruitment?

J Cancer Surviv. 2014 Sep;8(3):349-54.
Authors: Seltzer ED, Stolley MR, Mensah EK, Sharp LK.

Purpose: The recent and rapid growth of social networking site (SNS) use presents a unique public health opportunity to develop effective strategies for the recruitment of hard-to-reach participants for cancer research studies. This survey investigated childhood cancer survivors' reported use of SNS such as Facebook or MySpace and their perceptions of using SNS, for recruitment into survivorship research. Methods: Sixty White, Black, and Hispanic adult childhood cancer survivors (range 18-48 years of age) that were randomly selected from a larger childhood cancer study, the Chicago Healthy Living Study, participated in this pilot survey. Telephone surveys were conducted to understand current SNS activity and attitudes towards using SNS as a cancer research recruitment tool. Results: Seventy percent of participants reported SNS usage of which 80 % were at least weekly users and 79 % reported positive attitudes towards the use of SNS as a recruitment tool for survivorship research. Implications for cancer survivors: The results of this pilot study revealed that SNS use was high and regular among the childhood cancer survivors sampled. Most had positive attitudes towards using SNS for recruitment of research. The results of this pilot survey suggest that SNS may offer an alternative approach for recruitment of childhood cancer survivors into research.

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