Factors affecting participant recruitment and retention in borderline personality disorder research: a feasibility study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Previous studies have shown that stigma is a major barrier to participation in psychiatric research and that individuals who participate in psychiatric research may differ clinically and demographically from non-participants. However, few studies have explored research recruitment and retention challenges in the context of personality disorders. Aim To provide an analysis of the factors affecting participant recruitment and retention in a study of borderline personality disorder among general psychiatric inpatients. Methods Adult inpatients in a tertiary psychiatric hospital were approached about participating in a cross-sectional study of borderline personality disorder. Recruitment rates, retention rates, and reasons for declining participation or withdrawing from the study were collected. Demographic characteristics were compared between participants and non-participants and between patients who remained in the study and those who withdrew. Results A total of 71 participants were recruited into the study between January 2018 and March 2020. Recruitment and retention rates were 45% and 70%, respectively. Lack of interest was the most commonly cited reason for non-participation, followed by scheduling conflicts and concerns regarding mental/physical well-being. Age and sex were not predictors of study participation or retention. Conclusions More research is needed to explore patients’ perspectives and attitudes towards borderline personality disorder diagnosis and research, determine effects of different recruitment strategies, and identify clinical predictors of recruitment and retention in personality disorder research.


  • Woo, Julia
  • Shahid, Hamnah
  • Hillmer, Alannah
  • Abdullah, Alamna
  • Deshpande, Sarah
  • Panesar, Balpreet
  • Sanger, Nitika
  • Samaan, Zainab

publication date

  • December 2021