Willingness to participate in clinical trials among patients of Chinese heritage: a meta-synthesis

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e51328. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051328. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Abstract

Background: Subjects of Chinese heritage have been found to participate in clinical research at lower rates than other groups despite growing in numbers as a population. While much research has examined research participants' motivation, there has not been a comprehensive synthesis of this information with respect to participants of Chinese descent. We sought to identify the factors that promote and hinder participation in clinical research among participants of Chinese heritage.

Methodology/principal findings: We conducted a systematic review of the literature in Pubmed, OpenJGATE, SCIRUS, and COCHRANE databases and performed a meta-synthesis of retrieved articles. We extracted qualitative data, such as quotes to identify emerging themes. We identified five studies that met our selection criteria. Of them, only one (1/5) was conducted in China while other studies involved Chinese emigrants in USA (3/5) and Singapore (1/5). Participants from China were similar to emigrants with regard to factors that either promoted or decreased research participation. Four studies reported data exclusively on Chinese subjects. Three of the five studies involved qualitative interviews while the others were conducted using a survey design. Six themes favoring research participation were identified: Personal Benefit to Participants, Financial Incentives, Participant Sense of Altruism, Family or Physician Recommendations, Advertisements, and Convenience to the Participant. Five factors were seen as a barrier to participation in clinical trials: Mistrust of Researchers, Language Barrier, Lack of Financial and Other Support, Cultural and Social Barriers, Lack of Knowledge about Clinical Trials.

Conclusions/significance: Chinese heritage clinical research participants value personal benefit, financial incentives, the ability to help others, recommendations of others, advertisements, and convenience when considering clinical research participation. In addition, the establishment of trust and addressing knowledge deficits are important factors to them. Investigators seeking to optimize enrolment in these populations should incorporate these findings into their study design and subject handouts.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Advertising
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / ethnology*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Social Behavior

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.