“Emerging adulthood often entails heightened risk-taking with potential lifelong consequences. Research on risk behaviors is needed to guide prevention programming, particularly in under-served and difficult to reach populations,” writes Dr. Jalie A. Tucker, former professor and chair in the department of health behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and current professor and chair in the department of health education & behavior at the University of Florida, in collaboration with Dr. Max Michael III, professor in UAB’s department of health care organization and policy and dean of UAB’s School of Public Health, in a recent study assessing the utility of Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) — which weights a peer-driven sample to compensate for its nonrandom development — to recruit young adult African Americans from disadvantaged communities for research and prevention programming.
[Photo: Dr. Jalie A. Tucker]
Interviews were conducted with 110 male and 234 female participants, with a median age of 18.86 years, to ascertain common health risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, sexual activity, and substance use. When associations between sample risk factors, gender, and age were evaluated, the team found that “sample risk profiles and prevalence estimates compared favorably with matched samples from representative U.S. national surveys.”
[Photo: Dr. Max Michael III]
The findings support utilizing RDS as a grassroots sampling method not only for research but also for delivering preventive interventions for risk behaviors within community-dwelling groups.
Co-investigators in the study are Dr. Cathy Simpson, adjunct professor; Dr. Susan Davies, associate professor; Dr. Terri H. Lewis, former assistant professor; Dr. JeeWon Cheong, former assistant professor; Ms. Susan D. Chandler, former program manager; and Mr. M. Scott Crawford, statistician, in UAB’s department of health behavior; Dr. Casey Borch, former assistant professor in UAB’s department of sociology; and UAB alumnus Mr. Shatomi J. S. Kerbawy.
“Utility of Respondent Driven Samples to Reach Disadvantaged Emerging Adults for Assessment of Substance Use, Weight, and Sexual Behaviors” was published in February in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.