Motivation for health information seeking and processing about clinical trial enrollment

Z. Janet Yang, Katherine Mccomas, Geri Gay, John P. Leonard, Andrew J. Dannenberg, Hildy Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Low patient accrual in clinical trials poses serious concerns for the advancement of medical science in the United States. Past research has identified health communication as a crucial step in overcoming barriers to enrollment. However, few communication scholars have studied this problem from a sociopsychological perspective to understand what motivates people to look for or pay attention to information about clinical trial enrollment. This study applies the model of Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) to this context of health decision making. By recognizing the uncertainties embedded in clinical trials, we view clinical trial enrollment as a case study of risk. With data from a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 500 adults living in the United States, we used structural equation modeling to test the central part of the RISP model. In particular, we examined the role of optimistic feelings, as a type of positive affect, in motivating information seeking and processing. Our results indicated that rather than exerting an indirect influence on information seeking through motivating a psychological need for more information, optimistic feelings have more direct relationships with information seeking and processing. Similarly, informational subjective norms also exhibit a more direct relationship with information seeking and processing. These results suggest merit in applying the RISP model to study health decision making related to clinical trial enrollment. Our findings also render practical implications on how to improve communication about clinical trial enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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