Socioeconomic determinants associated with willingness to participate in medical research among a diverse population

Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Nov;33(6):1197-205. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2012.07.014. Epub 2012 Aug 4.


Introduction: Although it is federally-mandated that racial/ethnic minorities be included in research studies, recruiting diverse populations remains a challenge. This is particularly difficult when research involves children. The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes and beliefs toward medical research among a racially and socioeconomically diverse population of parents of school children.

Methods: A cross-sectional parent-report survey was conducted in New York City public elementary schools using stratified random selection to obtain a diverse population. Fear of medical research and likelihood to participate in medical research were assessed using a validated questionnaire. Differences in fear/likelihood to participate in research across race/ethnicity and socioeconomic characteristics were evaluated.

Results: In general, parents were afraid of their child "being treated as a guinea pig", but were willing to allow their child to participate in research if asked by their own doctor. Factors associated with a lower score on fear toward research were; primary language other than English (OR=0.59), access to an interpreter (OR=0.73) and access to medical service within a day (OR=0.51). Latinos had the highest fear score (OR=1.87) compared to Whites. Asians were the ethnic group most likely to participate in research (OR=1.71). Low education level (OR=2.18) and public health insurance (OR=1.37) were associated with a higher score for likelihood of allowing one's child to participate in medical research.

Conclusion: Minority parents reported more fear of allowing their children to participate in medical research, but were as likely to consent their children's participation, especially if asked by their own physician.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude / ethnology
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Human Experimentation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Parental Consent / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Racial Groups / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Trust