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Parental Distrust May Explain Lack of Black Children in Clinical Trials

They express more doubt as to safety, transparency of medical research, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Black parents are more likely than white parents to distrust medical research, which may explain why black children are frequently underrepresented in studies.

So conclude University of Pittsburgh researchers who surveyed 190 parents (140 black, 50 white) who brought their children to a primary-care clinic.

The parents were asked about their attitudes toward their child's medical care, beliefs about medical research, and whether incentives such as money or free medical care would influence their decision to allow their child to participate in research.

Compared to white parents, black parents were more likely to:

  • Report distrust of medical research (67 percent vs. 50 percent)
  • Believe that doctors prescribe medications as a way of experimenting on unknowing patients (40 percent vs. 28 percent)
  • Think that medical research involves too much risk to participants (46.8 percent vs. 26 percent)
  • Believe that doctors won't make full disclosures regarding their child's participation (24.6 percent vs. 10 percent)
  • Think that research participants would be favored and receive better medical care (48.6 percent vs. 28 percent).

The study also found that education level was associated with distrust of medical studies. A high level of distrust was expressed by 74 percent of those with less than a high school education, compared to 44 percent of college graduates. But even after the researchers controlled for education, black parents were two times more likely than whites to distrust medical research.

The findings appear in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"Although the overall attitude toward medicine and research was positive in both African-American and white paren

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