Problem: It is difficult to get teenage mothers to participate in studies, yet some researchers have been successful. Researchers who understand the barriers to conducting studies with a vulnerable population and are guided in ways to overcome these barriers, will experience greater success when doing studies with this group. Improved study methods can lead to larger numbers of teenage mothers who participate in studies. Researchers who follow developmentally appropriate guidelines are more likely to conduct and replicate studies with this population. Access is essential to advance the science related to care for teenage mothers who are at risk for many problems that will affect life outcomes.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the experiences of researchers who have conducted studies with teenage mothers to identify factors that facilitate or hinder their participation in studies.

Methods: The Delphi technique was utilized for this study. Ten expert panel respondents (EPRs) addressed 14 open-ended questions about their experiences in research recruitment and participation of teenage mothers in round 1. Data from round 1 were reduced to 162 statements organized under 19 topical categories. The items under each topic were presented in round 2 for participants to rate or rank. Six of the ten EPRs responded to round 2 with only four completing the entire round 2 survey.

Research Questions: RQ1. What are the major methodological barriers and facilitators to foster engagement, trust, and connectedness in studies involving teenage mothers?

RQ2. What physical, developmental, psychological, and sociological elements are essential in a framework for conducting research with teenage mothers?

RQ3. What do experts recommend to foster success in research with teenage mothers?

Results: The expert panel of researchers (n = 4-6) reached a consensus regarding factors that contribute to or hinder teenage mothers’ participation in research. These findings provide valuable insight necessary to initiate development of guidelines for research recruitment and retention of teenage mothers.

Date of publication

Summer 7-31-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Jennifer Chilton, Dr. Danita Alfred, Dr. Linda Rath, Dr. Cheryl Cooper


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing