Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

McCarthy, Ann Marie

Second Advisor

Williams, Janet

First Committee Member

Oleson, Jacob

Second Committee Member

Kaldjian, Lauris

Third Committee Member

Clark, Mary


Although the public understands that participation in clinical research is necessary to advance the knowledge and skills of medical science, the rates of participation have been demonstrated to be trending downwards. Inadequate participation rates can have dramatic scientific and economic effects that ultimately affect the advancement of science.

The attitudes and reasons for participation and non-participation in clinical research have been examined by a multitude of researchers. However, willingness to participate research is typically focused on a narrow range of populations, that is those diagnosed with an illness or disease and minority populations. The purpose of this study is to examine the demographic and knowledge factors which influence community-dwelling young adults' attitudes, as the future generation of clinical research volunteers, towards willingness to participate in clinical research. Knowing which factors are associated with young adults' attitudes and intention of willingness to participate will be of benefit to those who conduct research by identifying and rectifying barriers to participation.

Quantitative data, in the form of a one-time questionnaire administered by a paper and pencil instrument, were collected from a purposive sample of Grade 12 (seniors) students recruited from Iowa public high schools. My findings suggest that knowledge, acquired both by formal education and informal education, was associated with behavioral beliefs and attitudes about clinical research in this sample of students as a precursor to being willing to participate in clinical research. Fewer demographic factors, such as gender, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, were associated with the behavioral beliefs and attitudes measures. This is excellent news to those who conduct research as informational factors may be changed. Aiming interventions at informing young adults about clinical research

process and procedures may be of benefit to attitude formation with hopes to impact future enrollment in clinical research. Media, as a method of informal education, may be of use as a way to provide information.


Bioethics, Research, Young adults


xii, 181 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 169-181).


Copyright 2013 Debra Sue Brandt

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