Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Differences in preferences for models of consent for biobanks between Black and White women

  • Katherine M. Brown
  • Bettina F. Drake
  • Sarah Gehlert
  • Leslie E. Wolf
  • James DuBois
  • Joann Seo
  • Krista Woodward
  • Hannah Perkins
  • Melody S. Goodman
  • Kimberly A. Kaphingst
Original Article


Biobanks are essential resources, and participation by individuals from diverse groups is needed. Various models of consent have been proposed for secondary research use of biospecimens, differing in level of donor control and information received. Data are needed regarding participant preferences for models of consent, particularly among minorities. We conducted qualitative semi-structured interviews with 60 women to examine their attitudes about different models of consent. Recruitment was stratified by race (Black/White) and prior biobank participation (yes/no). Two coders independently coded interview transcripts. Qualitative thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo 10. The majority of Black and White participants preferred “broad” consent (i.e., blanket permission for secondary research use of biospecimens), and the second most preferred model for both groups was “study-specific” consent (i.e., consent for each future research study). The qualitative analysis showed that participants selected their most preferred model for 3 major reasons: having enough information, having control over their sample, and being asked for permission. Least preferred was notice model (i.e., participants notified that biospecimens may be used in future research). Attitudes toward models of consent differed somewhat by race and prior biobank participation. Participants preferred models of consent for secondary research use of biospecimens that provided them with both specific and general information, control over their biospecimens, and asked them to give permission for use. Our findings suggest that it will be important for researchers to provide information about future uses of biospecimens to the extent possible and have an explicit permission step for secondary research use.


Biobanks Informed consent Race/ethnicity Participant preferences 



This project was supported by grant number U54CA153460-03S1, a supplement to the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities grant from the National Cancer Institute. We thank all of our community partners, The Breakfast Club, Inc., Siteman Cancer Center and Women’s Health Repository. We thank the 60 women who participated in the study and shared their opinions. We also thank Melissa Lovell, MPH. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute.

Conflict of interest

Katherine M. Brown, Bettina F. Drake, Sarah Gehlert, Leslie E. Wolf, James DuBois, Joann Seo, Krista Woodward, Hannah Perkins, Melody S. Goodman, and Kimberly A. Kaphingst declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Compliance with ethics guidelines

Human subject research

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine M. Brown
    • 1
  • Bettina F. Drake
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah Gehlert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leslie E. Wolf
    • 3
  • James DuBois
    • 1
  • Joann Seo
    • 1
  • Krista Woodward
    • 1
  • Hannah Perkins
    • 1
  • Melody S. Goodman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kimberly A. Kaphingst
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryWashington University School of Medicine, Division of Public Health SciencesSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Alvin J. Siteman Cancer CenterSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Georgia State University College of Law, Center for Law Health and SocietyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Department of CommunicationUniversity of UtahSalt LakeUSA
  5. 5.Huntsman Cancer InstituteSalt LakeUSA

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