Racial Differences in Parents' Distrust of Medicine and Research

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Rajakumar, Kumaravel and Thomas, Stephen B. and Musa, Donald and Almario, Donna and Garza, Mary A. (2009) Racial Differences in Parents' Distrust of Medicine and Research. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med., 163 (2). pp. 108-114.


Objective To assess and compare the attitudes and trust that African American and white parents have toward their children participating in research. Design Self-administered, cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of parents. Setting Primary Care Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh from August 2004 through April 2005. Participants One hundred ninety parents (140 African American and 50 white parents). Outcome Measure Parental distrust of medical research as measured by a summative score of distrusting responses to 8 questions assessing trust in research. Results African American parents had significantly greater distrust than white parents (67% vs 50%, P = .04). Education was also associated with having significantly greater distrust (74% of those with <high school education vs 44% of college graduates, P = .03). However, African American race remained a predictor of distrust even when education was controlled for (odds ratio, 2.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-5.01). Conclusions The degree of parental distrust toward medical research was significantly greater among African American parents. Parental distrust may be a barrier to enrollment of African American children in clinical research. Strategies for overcoming the higher level of distrust in African American parents are warranted for ensuring adequate representation of African American children in clinical research.