Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The trials and tribulations of enrolling couples in a randomized, controlled trial: a self-management program for hyperlipidemia as a model.

Voils CI, Yancy WS, Weinberger M, Bolton J, Coffman CJ, Jeffreys A, Oddone EZ, Bosworth HB. The trials and tribulations of enrolling couples in a randomized, controlled trial: a self-management program for hyperlipidemia as a model. Patient education and counseling. 2011 Jul 1; 84(1):33-40.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: Capitalizing on spousal support may enhance the effectiveness of interventions for chronic disease management. However, couples-based interventions present logistical challenges. We describe our experience and lessons learned while recruiting couples into the Couples Partnering for Lipid-Enhancing Strategies (CouPLES) trial. METHODS: This trial seeks to reduce serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels using a couples-based intervention designed to help patients engage in self-management behaviors. We proposed enrolling 250 couples over 13 months. RESULTS: Due to practical challenges that we encountered, recruitment and enrollment lasted 21 months. Those challenges included: travel to study site; effectively marketing the study; participant burden; and establishing eligibility criteria. By modifying our protocol to address these challenges, the recruitment rate increased from 12 to 33%. CONCLUSION: In the absence of trials identifying the most effective recruitment strategies, investigators may need to experiment, amending their protocol intermittently until target enrollment numbers are reached. The lessons we present may help researchers conducting couples-based interventions develop more effective protocols. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: To achieve target enrollment numbers, researchers conducting couples-based interventions should consider minimizing travel to the study site; carefully crafting recruitment materials; budgeting more for participant incentives and staff effort; and limiting exclusion criteria. These practices may also enhance retention.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.