Promoting research engagement among women with addiction: Impact of recovery peer support in a pilot randomized mixed-methods study

Aleksandra E. Zgierska, Florence Hilliard, Shelbey Deegan, Alyssa Turnquist, Ellen Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: The impact of involving peers on research engagement is largely unknown. The purpose of this pilot study, a part of a larger research, was to evaluate the impact of recovery peer involvement as a study team member on recruitment/retention of persons with lived experience of SUD during pregnancy and to assess participant perceptions about factors impacting engagement of this population and their children in research, especially brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods: This study randomly assigned participants (1:1) to either Peer or Research Coordinator (RC) arms. Eligible participants were English-speaking adult, non-pregnant females with lived experience of substance use during pregnancy. Certified Peers were recruited word of mouth and completed study-specific training. The impact of trained, certified Peer versus RC on research engagement was assessed by between-arm comparison of retention rates. Quantitative and qualitative survey data on participant perceptions were summarized. Results: Thirty-eight individuals enrolled into the study (19 Peer, 19 RC). Peer versus RC had 7.2 times greater odds of completing Visit 2 (Fisher's exact test; 95%CI: 1.2, 81.8; p = 0.03). The majority (70.4%) of respondents identified being accompanied by a peer and getting a tour of the MRI facility/procedures as ‘extremely’ helpful for improving participant comfort and engagement in future studies. Motivators of future research engagement also included creating a trusting, supportive, non-judgmental research environment, and linkages to treatment and other services. Conclusion: Findings support the notion that peers involved as research team members could boost research engagement among persons with substance use during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107235
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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