Purpose To describe the perceptions of research participation of severely injured black men currently enrolled in a clinical research study.
Methods Conducted within the context of a larger study including questionnaires, collection of geographical data, and psychological symptom severity interviews, this qualitative study utilised semi-structured interviews. 70 urban black men with serious injuries were recruited while hospitalised in an urban trauma centre. Participants were interviewed in their homes 3 months post-discharge. All sessions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was used to identify themes about perceptions of participating in clinical research.
Results The sample consisted of 70 black men with serious injuries and a mean age of 38.2 years. Eight common themes were identified reflecting the following reasons why men participated in the study:(1) Human connexion (2) Self-improvement/self-growth (3) Altruism/Community Values (4) Gaining knowledge (5) Compensation (6) Reciprocity (7) Low risk; and (8) Intellectual curiosity/interest.
Conclusion The study’s key finding is that participants perceive a lack of humanistic connexion, motivating participation in the study as a means to talk about their experiences. Despite some expressions of mistrust, participants were willing to participate for altruistic reasons rooted in community priorities, and as part of their recovery process post-injury.
Significance and implications Black men are uniquely vulnerable in American society and our health care system: they bear a disproportionate burden of injury, yet are underrepresented in clinical research. Future empirical and conceptual work is needed to better understand patients’ views of clinical research in the context of busy acute care settings where patients do not perceive opportunities for human connexion.
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