Factors influencing the willingness to participate in medical research: A nationwide survey in Taiwan


Background. Participation rate is one of the main challenges medical researchers face. We examined how demographic background and trust in medical research affect the willingness of people to participate in medical research in Taiwan.

Methods. Data from the 2011 Taiwan Genomic Survey were used. A total of 3,159 people aged 18 to 70 years were sampled, and 1,538 of them completed the survey. Missing data were excluded. A total of 1,389 respondents were included in the final analysis.

Results. About 12 percent of the respondents answered that they would be willing to participate in medical research. Respondents who had a college degree or above and were married or lived with a significant other were less likely to participate in medical research. By contrast, respondents who were men and who or their close family members had a biomedicine-related degree were more likely to participate in medical research. After adjustment for demographic factors, respondents who expressed trust in doctors who conduct medical research, agreed that doctors would never ask them to join a medical research study that might harm them, thought that participating in a medical research study is safe, and agreed that medical researchers have no selfish reasons for doing research were more likely to participate in medical research.

Discussion. Some of our findings, such as the effect of education level and marital status on participation in medical research, are different from the findings of most previous studies conducted in other countries. This study is useful for the development of strategies for improving participant recruitment.

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