Original research article| Volume 88, ISSUE 1, P18-23, July 2013

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Evaluation of e-mail contact to conduct follow-up among adolescent women participating in a longitudinal cohort study of contraceptive use



      The purpose of this study was to determine whether e-mail contact is a viable method for gathering information from adolescent women about contraceptive use.

      Study design

      Adolescent women initiating contraception followed in a prospective longitudinal cohort study and who had access to the Internet were randomized to the control or intervention arm and were contacted at 3, 6 and 12 months after enrollment. The control arm completed follow-up surveys in-person or by telephone. The intervention arm received Web-based surveys via e-mail.


      There were 46 women in each group. Women in both groups were approximately 20 years old, were sexually active minority women, and were in school or employed. While participants in the intervention group initially had lower response rates than those in the control group (59% vs. 91%, respectively), with the addition of traditional follow-up methods, the overall response rates were comparable (94% vs. 91%, respectively).


      E-mail follow-up with Web-based surveys was effective amongst adolescent women at risk for unintended pregnancy. This indicates that e-mail contact could be used as a preliminary follow-up strategy to capture a substantial proportion of participants and that standard follow-up can be used as a second-line approach. A two-pronged approach with initial e-mail contact and traditional follow-up for participants who do not respond may be a viable method when evaluating sensitive areas such as contraceptive use.


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