Recruitment of diverse populations into clinical trials remains challenging but is needed to fully understand disease processes and benefit the general public. Greater knowledge of key factors among ethnic and racial minority populations associated with the decision to participate in clinical research studies may facilitate recruitment and enhance the generalizibility of study results. Therefore, during the recruitment phase of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) trial, we conducted a telephone survey, using validated questions, to explore potential facilitators and barriers of research participation among eligible candidates residing in seven U.S. locations. Survey responses included a range of characteristics and perceptions among participants and non-participants and were compared using bivariate and step-wise logistic regression analyses. One-hundred forty-one respondents in the one-hundred forty (70 trial participants and 71 non-participants) completed the survey. Trial participants and non-participants were similar in multiple demographic characteristics and shared similar views on discrimination, physician mistrust, and research integrity. Key group differences were related to their perceptions of the impact of their research participation. Participants associated enrollment with personal and societal health benefits, while non-participants were influenced by the health risks. In a step-wise linear regression analysis, the most powerful significant positive predictors of participation were acknowledgement of health status as important in the enrollment decision (OR=4.54, p=0.006), employment (OR=3.12, p = 0.05) and healthcare satisfaction (OR=2.12, p<0.01). Racially-based mistrust did not emerge as a negative predictor and subjects' decisions were not influenced by the race of the research staff. In conclusion, these results suggest that health-related factors, and not psychosocial perceptions, have predominant influence on research participation among African Americans.