Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine older persons' reasons for joining a clinical trial, and to provide data that could be useful in planning and carrying out clinical trials in older and minority populations.
Design: A survey.
Participants: The sample included 4281 men and women 60 years of age or older who were randomized to the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP).
Measurements: A 10-item satisfaction/attitude questionnaire was designed to evaluate (1) what personal benefits people expect from participation in this trial, (2) motivation for joining, and (3) satisfaction with clinic staff and operations. Each question had a response category asking for a measure of agreement, satisfaction, or importance.
Results: The most important reasons for joining the clinical trial were to contribute to science (96%), improve the health of others (96%), and improve their own health (93%). Free medical care and social aspects were less important reasons to join. There were no differences by treatment assignment, but differences in reasons for joining SHEP by age, race, gender, and education were observed.
Conclusion: Older adults were enthusiastic about clinical trial participation. Recruitment, participant management strategies, and allocation of resources should consider the needs of specific patient groups.