Psychoeducational intervention changes patient attitudes on clinical trials participation

June 13, 2012, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Seeking ways to change cancer patients' perceptions and negative attitudes towards clinical trials participation, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center conducted a study offering two different kinds of intervention to two groups of adults with cancer who had not previously been asked to participate in clinical trials. They found a multimedia psychoeducational intervention to be more effective in changing patients' perceptions and negative attitudes toward clinical trials than standard educational literature.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"Clinical trials are critical to the development of more effective cancer treatments," said study lead author Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D., senior member at Moffitt and associate center director for Population Science. "However, clinical trials are hampered by low rates of patient participation."

According to Jacobsen and colleagues, the low rates of patient participation point to the need to develop interventions that will increase the likelihood of patients enrolling in clinical trials. Many interventions used in the past, they noted, focused on improving the consenting process rather than changing about clinical trials.

"Research has consistently revealed that patients have and attitudes about clinical trials," explained Jacobsen. "We hypothesized that the right intervention would have a positive impact in changing perceptions and attitudes towards participation."

For this study, 472 who had not previously been asked to participate in a clinical trial were divided into two groups: one group viewed a new, 18-minute multimedia psychoeducational presentation, and the second group received existing printed about clinical trials.

"Our results demonstrated the benefits of providing patients with a brief, multimedia psychoeducational program focused on changing attitudes towards clinical trials," wrote the researchers. "The group receiving the multimedia psychoeducational intervention developed a more positive attitude and demonstrated an increased willingness to enroll in a clinical trial when compared with the group receiving printed educational material."

"Although the effects were modest, the successful intervention has the potential to reach a large number of patients and, thus, have broad impact," wrote the researchers. "The psychoeducational multimedia presentation requires relatively little time, effort and resources to deliver."

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