Participation in research: informed consent, motivation and influence

J Paediatr Child Health. 2001 Feb;37(1):51-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.2001.00612.x.


Objective: To investigate the process and quality of informed consent, motivation and influence in parents who were invited to enroll their baby in a research project.

Methodology: A mixed quantitative/qualitative questionnaire was sent to a cohort invited to participate in a physiological research project on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the Dunedin Public Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand. Separate questionnaires were used for parents who participated (94) and those who declined to participate (103). Response rates were 69% and 47%, respectively.

Results: All consenting parents felt they understood the purpose and procedure of the study. The majority (90%) thought the information about the study was very good; 6.5% felt more detail was required. Eighty-five per cent found the verbal explanation the most useful source of information. All participated for altruistic reasons such as to aid SIDS research. Although 27% had concerns about safety of the tests, after the tests all responders felt happy with the safety of the tests. Inconvenience was the main reason (53%) for declining to participate. Twenty-eight per cent of declining parents were concerned about the safety of the tests.

Conclusion: Of those who responded to the questionnaire, the process for obtaining informed consent in the SIDS studies was satisfactory. Parents' motives for participating were mostly altruistic. The role of recall bias and selection bias may make the implications of this study unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Informed Consent*
  • Motivation*
  • New Zealand
  • Parents*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Sudden Infant Death