Exploring service providers’ perceptions of the barriers and enablers to recruitment of service users into social prescribing research

Matthew Cooper*, Jason Scott, Leah Avery, Kirsten Ashley, Darren Flynn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


To explore the views of social prescribing service providers on the barriers and enablers to recruitment of service users in social prescribing research.

A qualitative study design, using semi-structured interviews with social prescribing service providers in the voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise sector. Data were analysed using Thematic Framework Analysis.

Ten interviews were conducted with service providers from five different social prescribing services. Three analytical themes were created. (1) What are you talking about?, related to service provider experiences of attempting to engage service users in social prescribing research, specifically confusion about the term social prescribing. (2) You’ve got a friend in me, focused on the positive impact of quality relationships between service providers and service users on recruitment. (3) No, no, no. Not today, reflected the experiences of service providers who reported that service users will often experience fluctuations in their mental and physical health, limiting their capacity to engage with structured research activity. 

Key implications arising from this study is a need for more accessible and person-centred strategies for strengthening recruitment to, and participation in, social prescribing research. Increasing accessibility of research language (and information about participation), providing flexibility in recruitment methods, and conduct of research can also improve recruitment and retention. Service providers are vital for supporting engagement of service users in social prescribing research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date22 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2024

Cite this