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Recruiting young people with a visible difference to the YP Face IT feasibility trial: a qualitative exploration of primary care staff experiences

  • Claire Hamlet (a1), Heidi Williamson (a1) and Diana Harcourt (a1)

Qualitative research methods embedded within feasibility trials are of significant value as they can provide important information for a definitive trial, often unable to be fulfilled by quantitative methods alone. In addition, such information can aid researchers running other trials or evaluating interventions on a similar topic.


This study aimed to explore GP and nurses’ experiences of recruiting to a trial exploring the feasibility of evaluating YP Face IT, a novel online psychosocial intervention to support young people with appearance-altering conditions.


During the recruitment period, a focus group with participating GPs and nurses explored recruitment challenges. In addition, at the end of the recruitment period, telephone interviews were conducted with eight GPs and nurses involved in recruiting to the study, in order to inform a definitive trial of YP Face IT. Transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis.


Despite reporting that the study was valuable and interesting, interviewees struggled to recruit in-consultation. They appeared to lack confidence in raising the sensitive issue of a visible difference and adopted strategies to avoid mentioning the topic. Participants felt the nature of the target population, as well as pressures of the primary care environment presented challenges to recruitment, but welcomed YP Face IT as an intervention that could address unmet support needs. Primary care staff may benefit from training to help them raise the subject of a visible difference with young people in order to identify those that require additional support.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Claire Hamlet, Research Associate, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK. Email:
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Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • ISSN: 1463-4236
  • EISSN: 1477-1128
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