Changes in Health Knowledge and Lifestyles After Participating in a Research Study.




Resendes, Erica M.
Fulda, Kimberly
Habiba, Nusrath


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Background Clinical research plays an instrumental role in the advancement of health care by opening doors to new and improved treatments, prevention procedures, and methods of diagnoses. It is, therefore, important to tackle issues that may negatively impact the completion of a study. This includes problematic recruitment, which can result in costly economic consequences, inefficient collection of data, and even closure of a study. Research shows that the major driving force behind an individual’s decision to participate is due to the benefits received while enrolled in a study. These benefits are usually the primary aim of a study and include helping out future patients, receiving new/improved treatments and getting better care for various illnesses. The purpose of this study was to assess the participant’s self-reported benefits and/or lifestyle changes subsequent to participating in a research study. Methods A telephone survey was administered to parents/legal guardians of children who participated in two initial studies conducted at the UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC). The survey assessed if the parents/legal guardians became more aware of their child’s health after participating and whether they made a change in the child’s lifestyle. Questions used in the initial study were re-administered in this study. In the initial study, children were sent a report characterizing the child’s lab results as normal or abnormal. Wilcoxon-Signed Rank test was used to compare means pre and post, and Fisher’s Exact Test was used to compare willingness to participate in future studies between parents of children who received normal and abnormal results. A total of 61 surveys were completed. Results Since completing the study, 55.7% of the parents/legal guardians reported a change in their child’s diet, while 70.5% reported a change in their child’s physical activity. Parents/legal guardians of children who received both normal and abnormal results were more likely to report making their child eat healthy and exercise regularly as well as describe their child as not being overweight during the follow-up data collection as compared to the original study (Abnormal p Discussion/Conclusion By highlighting such benefits, the public’s perceptions of clinical research can be broadened, encouraging more individuals to consider participating. The goal was to show that by participating in research, individuals can learn more about their own health, or more importantly, their child’s health. This knowledge can then translate to lifestyle changes beyond the scope of a study.