Racial differences among reasons for participating in research of pregnancy outcomes: the right from the start experience

Gend Med. 2005 Sep;2(3):166-73. doi: 10.1016/s1550-8579(05)80045-2.


Background: Historically, racial minorities and women are less likely to participate in medical research than are whites and men. Although much is known about barriers to enrollment for those who decline to participate, much less is known about factors that motivate those who choose to enroll.

Objective: This study examines the reasons for participation in pregnancy outcomes research and determines whether these reasons varied by race.

Methods: Right From The Start is an ongoing prospective cohort study. Pregnant women aged >or=18 years, who enrolled in and completed the study between December 2000 and June 2003, were interviewed by telephone at the conclusion of their participation and asked about motivators for enrolling. Univariate and bivariate statistics were used to determine the relationship between self-identified race and main reason for participating in the study. Logistic regression was used to adjust for the influence of age, gravidity, education, marital status, and income.

Results: A total of 1106 women were interviewed: 735 (66.5%) whites; 285 (25.8%) blacks; 30 (2.7%) Hispanics; and 56 (5.1%) others (Asians, Pacific Islanders). Black women listed a free ultrasound (73/247, 29.6%), contribution to medical knowledge (60/247, 24.3%), wanting to learn about pregnancy health (46/247, 18.6%), and concern about pregnancy health (30.247, 12.1%) as their main reason for participation. Black women were significantly less likely than white women to cite contribution to medical knowledge as the main reason for participation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.36-0.63). Blacks were more likely than whites to list wanting to learn about pregnancy health (OR = 3.12; 95% CI, 1.88-5.55) or concern about pregnancy health (OR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.56-5.94), even after adjusting for age, gravidity, pregnancy loss, education, marital status, and income.

Conclusions: Access to free pregnancy ultrasounds and contribution to medical knowledge were important motivators for both white and black women. However, whereas black women were more likely to report concerns about pregnancy health or pregnancy health education as the main reason for participation, white women were more likely to report a desire to contribute to medical knowledge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Research Subjects / psychology*
  • White People / psychology*