Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 51–58 | Cite as

Barriers and Strategies to Participation in Tissue Research Among African-American Men

  • Bettina F. Drake
  • Danielle Boyd
  • Kimberly Carter
  • Sarah Gehlert
  • Vetta Sanders Thompson


Before the burgeoning field of biospecimen collection can advance prevention and treatment methods, researchers must access diverse molecular data samples. However, minorities, especially African-American men, remain reticent to join these studies. This study, using theory-based approaches, investigated African-American men’s barriers to participating in biorepository research. Fourteen focus groups were conducted among 70 African-American men (ages 40 to 80). The groups were stratified by prostate cancer history and educational attainment background. Participants identified perceived factors that promoted or hindered study participation when questioned about their knowledge and attitudes about biospecimen research. Ninety-four percent of participants indicated never participating in a study that collected biological samples. Barriers to their participation included lack of knowledge and understanding regarding biospecimen research practices and uses. In addition, they extensively cited a prevalent mistrust of the medical community and discomfort with study recruitment practices. African-American males were more willing to participate in biorepository studies with physician endorsement or if they understood that participation could benefit future generations. Men also wanted more recruitment and advertising done in familiar places.


African-American Biorepository Recruitment Prostate cancer 



We wish to thank members of the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership of the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities for their participation in the design, recruitment, and support for the project. Members who participated in the interpretation of focus group results were Leon Ashford, Dewey Helms, Richard Hess, and Isadore Wayne.


This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (U01CA114594, U54CA153460), Washington University School of Medicine, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, and Siteman Cancer Center. G. Colditz is supported by an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bettina F. Drake
    • 1
    • 2
  • Danielle Boyd
    • 3
  • Kimberly Carter
    • 4
  • Sarah Gehlert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vetta Sanders Thompson
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of SurgeryWashington University in St. Louis School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Alvin J. Siteman Cancer CenterSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of SurgeryWashington University in St. Louis School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Social WorkSouthern Illinois University-EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleUSA
  5. 5.Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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