Recruiting rural and urban LGBT populations online: differences in participant characteristics between email and Craigslist approaches
Current recruitment strategies to reach lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups typically yield highly localized, mostly urban samples. Online recruitment strategies hold much promise for engaging rural and other underrepresented LGBT individuals in health research, but little research has been conducted examining the relative strengths of differing online recruitment methods. The purpose of the current study was to explore the effectiveness of both email and Craigslist recruitment to access rural sexual and gender minorities, and to examine if individuals across modalities differ significantly from each other with regards to demographic and psychosocial characteristics. Participants for the study were recruited through two sequentially implemented online convenience sampling recruitment methods: listserv based and Craigslist based. Participants completed an online battery assessing demographic characteristics, disclosure of sexual orientation/gender identity, health behaviors, and various psychosocial characteristics. A total of 3279 LGBT-identified individuals were recruited, 980 through Listservs and 2299 through Craigslist. Participants came from all 50 US states and nearly 30 % reported living in a rural area. When comparing the Listserv and Craigslist recruits, the groups differed on nearly every demographic and psychosocial characteristic assessed, ranging from racial/ethnic diversity to levels of psychological distress. Online recruitment strategies are feasible for accessing both rural and urban LGBT populations, and are highly effective at doing so. These strategies yield samples with remarkable diversity geographically, demographically, and psychosocially. In addition, similar to comparisons between in-person and online recruitment, samples recruited through different online methods significantly differ from each other in demographic and psychosocial characteristics.
KeywordsRural LGBT Online recruitment Health disparities Technology
- 1.Institute of Medicine. The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: building a foundation for better understanding. Washington DC: Institute of Medicine.Google Scholar
- 2.Bayer R. Homosexuality and American psychiatry: the politics of diagnosis (Revised Edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1987.Google Scholar
- 3.Minton HL. Departing from deviance: a history of homosexual rights and emancipatory science in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2002.Google Scholar
- 4.NOLO. Health care antidiscrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians: can doctors withhold treatment because of a patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity? 2013. Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/health-care-antidiscrimination-laws-protecting-32296.html.
- 9.Warren JC, Smalley KB. What is rural? In: Warren JC, Smalley KB, editors. Rural public health. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2014. p. 1–10.Google Scholar
- 10.U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder. 2010. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DCGeoSelectServlet?ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U.
- 12.Warren JC, Smalley KB. Rural public health. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2014.Google Scholar
- 13.Smalley KB, Yancey CT, Warren JC, Naufel K, Ryan R, Pugh JL. Rural mental health and psychological treatment: a review for practitioners. J Clin Psychol. 2010;66(5):479–89.Google Scholar
- 17.Case P, Austin B, Hunter DJ, Manson JE, Malspeis S, Willet WC, Spiegelman D. Sexual orientation, health risk factors, and physical functioning in the Nurses’ Health Study II. 2004;13(9):1033–1047.Google Scholar
- 20.Barefoot KN, Rickard A, Smalley KB, Warren JC. Rural lesbians: Unique challenges and implications for mental health providers. J Rural Mental Health; in press.Google Scholar
- 25.Jamison J. Psychometric validation of the Multidimensional Disclosure to Health Care Providers Scale (MD-HCPS). Dissertation Abstracts International. 2011. Available at: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/16017/1_Jamison_Jorja.pdf?sequence=3.
- 29.Babor TF, la Fuente JR, Sauders J, Grant M. AUDIT, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: guidelines for use in primary care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1992.Google Scholar
- 32.Smalley KB, Warren JC, Klibert J. Health risk behaviors in insured and uninsured community health center patients in the rural US South. Rural Remote Health. 2012;12(2123):1–8.Google Scholar
- 33.Rosenberg M. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1965.Google Scholar