Factors that influence African-Americans' willingness to participate in medical research studies

Cancer. 2001 Jan 1;91(1 Suppl):233-6. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010101)91:1+<233::aid-cncr10>3.0.co;2-8.


Background: The underrepresentation of African-Americans among medical research participants is receiving considerable attention because of recent government mandates for the inclusion of all racial/ethnic groups in human subject research. Therefore, there is a need to determine factors that influence minority enrollment in medical research studies.

Methods: Between 1998-1999, 91 African-American residents of the Detroit Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area participated in a mail and telephone survey designed to examine impediments to participation in medical research studies. Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between race, issues related to trust in medical researchers, and the willingness to participate in medical research studies.

Results: African-American respondents were somewhat less willing to participate if they attributed high importance to the race of the physician when seeking routine medical care, believed that minorities or the poor bear most of the risks of medical research, and, most especially, their knowledge of the Tuskegee Study resulted in less trust in medical researchers.

Conclusions: These data reiterate the need for medical researchers to build trusting relations with African-Americans and to conduct research in an ethical manner. This includes maximizing benefits, reducing risks, and assuring distributive justice to all medical research study participants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Truth Disclosure