This study’s goal was to identify how to increase National Guard and Reserve military family participation in research. Compared to Active Duty, families of National Guard and Reserve members are more geographically dispersed and less connected to a military base which can prove problematic for research recruitment and participation. We conducted a focus group study with Service Members and spouses (N = 14) to ascertain their perspectives on (a) whether National Guard and Reserve families would be interested in participating in research studies, (b) potential effective strategies for recruitment, (c) ideal data collection procedures, and (d) how to retain these families in longitudinal studies. Information provided in the focus groups was assessed using open and axial coding for themes. The majority of participants indicated that National Guard and Reserve families would be interested and willing to participate in research. Participants delineated several perceived participation barriers, however. The most-cited obstacles were time constraints and limited proximity to research study locations. Service Members and spouses were unanimous in their noted preference for internet surveys and indicated that researchers need to build relationships with potential participants, particularly if they intend to retain military families in longitudinal studies.



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