Clinical trial awareness: Changes over time and sociodemographic disparities

Clin Trials. 2015 Jun;12(3):215-23. doi: 10.1177/1740774515571917. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


Background or aims: Lack of clinical trial awareness is a known obstacle to clinical trial enrollment. We sought to define the prevalence of clinical trial awareness in the US population, determine characteristics associated with increased trial awareness, and explore potential disparities in trial awareness.

Methods: We utilized data from the Health Information National Trends Survey from 2008 and 2012. Logistic regression was utilized to assess predictors of clinical trial awareness, particularly sociodemographic variables and information-seeking preferences. Trial awareness and information-seeking preferences were compared in patient subgroups and between the two time periods.

Results: Clinical trial awareness increased from 68% to 74% between 2008 and 2012. In the 2012 dataset, higher education level (odds ratio: 3.52, 95% confidence interval: 2.16-5.74), higher yearly income category (odds ratio: 1.84, 95% confidence interval: 1.17-2.89), and Internet use (odds ratio: 2.13, 95% confidence interval: 1.52-3.00) were significantly associated with clinical trial awareness. Hispanic ethnicity (odds ratio: 0.41, 95% confidence interval: 0.25-0.68) was significantly associated with decreased awareness. Clinical trial awareness increased in African-American/Blacks (Δ10.6%) and Hispanics (Δ10.7%) between 2008 and 2012, as did Internet use in both subgroups (Δ14.2%, Δ18.1%, respectively).

Conclusion: Overall clinical trial awareness has increased between 2008 and 2012, although a large subset of the population still lacks general awareness of clinical trials. Racial and ethnic disparities in trial awareness exist, although disparities may be decreasing among the Black population. These findings may help target educational efforts and inform approaches to increasing trial awareness.

Keywords: Clinical trial awareness; Internet; clinical trial barriers; clinical trial disparities; health communication; health information; national cross-sectional survey.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Awareness*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / psychology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Racial Groups
  • Research Subjects / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult