Factors influencing the willingness to participate in medical research: A nationwide survey in Taiwan

Hung En Liu, Ming Chieh Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Participation rate is one of the main challenges medical researchers face. We examined how demographic background and trust in medical research affect the willingness of people to participate in medical research in Taiwan. Methods. Data from the 2011 Taiwan Genomic Survey (a nationwide representative face-to-face survey) were analyzed. The survey included a vignette of a researcher conducting a clinical trial of an investigative medicinal product, and questions for interviewees regarding their willingness to participate in research after they were informed of the scenario description. A total of 3,159 people, aged 18 to 70 years, were sampled, and 1,538 of them completed the survey. With missing data excluded, a total of 1,389 respondents were included in the final analysis. Results. About 12 percent of the respondents answered that they would be willing to participate in medical research. Respondents who had college degrees or above and were married or lived with significant others were less likely to participate in medical research. By contrast, male respondents, and respondents whose household family members had biomedicine-related degrees or had one themselves were more likely to participate in medical research. After adjustment for demographic factors, respondents were more likely to participate in medical research if: (1) they expressed trust in doctors conducting medical research; (2) they agreed that doctors would never ask them to join medical research studies that might harm them; (3) they thought that participating in a medical research study would be safe; and (4) they agreed that researchers had no selfish reasons for doing the medical research. Discussion. Some of our findings, such as the effects of education level and marital status on participation in medical research, are different from most findings of previous studies conducted in other countries. This study is useful for developing strategies to improve participant recruitment. Relevant discussions on research ethics and policies, such as the importance of public trust in medical researchers, could also be based on this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4874
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Medical research
  • Participant recruitment
  • Public attitudes
  • Trust in medical research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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