Objective: We examined in a large, nationally representative sample, predictors of (1) awareness of clinical trials and (2) feelings about the use of medical information for research in order to better understand factors related to public participation in research.
Design: We used data from 7011 adults included in the National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey 2007. We examined demographics, including race and ethnicity, and history of clinically relevant disease as predictors for both outcomes. For the outcome, feelings about the use of medical information for research, we also examined awareness of clinical trials as a predictor.
Results: Relative to White respondents, Black/African-American and Asian respondents were significantly less likely to have heard of clinical trials, as were Hispanic/Latino respondents relative to non-Hispanic/Latino respondents, those with lower incomes and education levels, and those who did not have a family history of cancer. Blacks/African-Americans, compared with Whites, and those with lower education levels felt significantly less positively about the use of medical information for research. Respondents who had heard of clinical trials felt significantly more positively about the use of medical information for research.
Conclusion: Although some racial groups feel less positively about some aspects of research, it is also evident that awareness of clinical trials, a predictor of more positive feelings about research, is less prevalent in some groups. In addition to creative outreach efforts to foster more positive feelings about research and researchers, promoting awareness of clinical trials among the general public and among members of racial and ethnic minority groups may ameliorate low general rates of participation and the under-representation of particular groups in medical research.