What Factors Predict Willingness to Join Low-Risk Pragmatic Clinical Trials?

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Pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) may improve the efficiency, relevance, and representativeness of research. While prior research has indicated that willingness to join a PCT is high, it is not universal among those asked in surveys exploring attitudes toward hypothetical PCTs. The objective of this study was to examine what factors predict willingness to join a hypothetical low-risk PCT comparing two blood pressure medicines. In our study, 2,618 respondents, recruited from three populations (adult patients from an academic health system, adult patients from an integrated delivery system, and adults from an online nationally representative panel), completed an online survey. Most respondents (90%) expressed willingness to participate in the hypothetical PCT. The two key predictors of expressed willingness to join low-risk PCTs were respondents' understanding of key features of PCTs, including how they differ from traditional research, and the degree of importance respondents perceived comparative research to have. Increasing awareness of the rationale for PCTs and understanding of these trials, including how they differ from explanatory trials, may increase prospective participants' willingness to contribute to this effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalEthics and Human Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • comparative effectiveness research
  • human research ethics
  • informed consent
  • learning health systems
  • pragmatic clinical trials
  • research participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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