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Lack of trust toward medical research is a major barrier to research participation, particularly among some population groups. Valid measures of trust are needed to develop appropriate interventions. The study purpose was to compare two previously validated scales that measure trust in biomedical research – one developed by Hall et al. (H-TBR; 2006) and the other by Mainous et al. (M-TBR; 2006) – in relation to socio-demographic variables and attitudes toward research. Differences between Black and White respondents were explored.
Two nearly identical surveys – one with H-TBR and the other with M-TBR – were systematically administered to a convenience sample. Internal consistency reliability of each scale was assessed. Associations were computed between scores on each scale with attitudes toward biomedical research and demographic variables (i.e., gender, age, race, and socioeconomic status). The difference between White and Black respondents on each TBR score while controlling for age, education, and race was also investigated.
A total of 2020 participants completed the H-TBR survey; 1957 completed the M-TBR survey. Mean item scores for M-TBR were higher (F = 56.05, p < 0.001) among Whites than Blacks. Whites also had higher mean item scores than Blacks on H-TBR (F = 7.09, p < 0.001). Both scales showed a strong association with participants’ perceived barriers to research (ps < 0.001) and significant, positive correlations with interest in research participation (ps < 0.001). Age and household income were positive predictors of TBR scores, but the effects of education differed.
Both scales are internally consistent and show associations with attitudes toward research. Whites score higher than Blacks on both TBR scales, even while controlling for age and socioeconomic status.
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