Trouble with the curve: the 90-9-1 rule to measure volitional participation inequalities among Royal Canadian Mounted Police cadets during training

Taylor A. Teckchandani, Robyn E. Shields, Katie L. Andrews, Kirby Q. Maguire, Laleh Jamshidi, Jolan Nisbet, Tracie O. Afifi, Lisa M. Lix, Sherry H. Stewart, Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Rachel L. Krakauer, J. Patrick Neary, Gregory P. Krätzig, R. Nicholas Carleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Study includes longitudinal multimodal assessments of RCMP cadets from pre-training (i.e., starting the Cadet Training Program [CTP]) to post-deployment and for five years thereafter. The data allow for investigating the multidimensionality of volitional participation in digital health data collection frameworks within serial data collection platforms and the impact of participation inequalities by classifying cadets using the 90-9-1 rule. By classifying cadets as Lurkers, Contributors, and Superusers formally described by the 90-9-1 rule, where 90% of actors do not participate, 9% seldom contribute, and 1% contribute substantially allows for the assessing of relationships between participation inequalities in self-monitoring behaviors as well as whether mental health disorder symptoms at pre-training (i.e., starting the CTP) were associated with subsequent participation. Methods: Participants were asked to complete a Full Assessment prior to their training at CTP, as well as short daily surveys throughout their training. Participation frequency was described using a process where participants were rank ordered by the number of daily surveys completed and classified into one of three categories. Full assessment surveys completed prior to their training at CTP included screening tools for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and panic disorder (PD). The Kruskal-Wallis H test was used to assess differences in participation rates between mental health disorder symptom screening groups for each measure at pre-training, and Spearman’s Rho was used to test for associations amongst self-reported Full Assessment screening tool responses and the number of daily surveys completed during CTP. Results: There were 18557 daily survey records collected from 772 participants. The rank-ordering of cadets by the number of daily surveys completed produced three categories in line with the 90-9-1 rule: Superusers who were the top 1% of cadets (n=8) and produced 6.4% of all recordings; Contributors who were the next 9% of cadets (n=68) and produced 49.2% of the recordings; and Lurkers who were the next 90% of cadets (n=695) and produced 44.4% of daily survey recordings. Lurkers had the largest proportion of positive screens for self-reported mental health disorders at pre-training. Conclusion: The creation of highly individualized, population-based mental health injury programs has been limited by an incomplete understanding of the causal relationships between protective factors and mental health. Disproportionate rates of disengagement from persons who screen positive for mental health disorders further compounds the difficulty in understanding the relationships between training programs and mental health. The current results suggest persons with mental health challenges may be less likely to engage in some forms of proactive mental health training. The current results also provide useful information about participation, adherence, and engagement that can be used to inform evidence-based paradigm shifts in health-related data collection in occupational populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1297953
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 Teckchandani, Shields, Andrews, Maguire, Jamshidi, Nisbet, Afifi, Lix, Stewart, Sauer-Zavala, Krakauer, Neary, Krätzig and Carleton.


  • mental health
  • participation
  • public safety personnel
  • RCMP cadets
  • volition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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