Cancer patients' attitudes toward cancer trials

Peggy A Schuber, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Background. Accurate measurement of attitudes toward participation in cancer treatment trials (CTs) and cancer prevention trials (CPTs) across varied groups could assist health researchers and educators when addressing attitudinal barriers to participation in these trials. Methods. The Attitudes toward Cancer Trials Scales (ACTS) instrument development was based on a conceptual model developed from research literature, clinical practice experience, and empirical testing of items with a sample of 312 respondents. The ACTS contains two scales, the Cancer Trials (CT) scale (4 components; 18 items) and the Cancer Prevention Trials (CPT) scale (3 components; 16 items). Cronbach's alpha values for the CT and CPT scales, respectively, were 0.86 and 0.89. These two scales along with sociodemographic and cancer trial history variables were distributed in a mail survey of former patients of a large cancer research center. The disproportionate stratified probability sampling procedure yielded 925 usable responses (54% response rate). Results. Prevalence of favorable attitudes toward CTs and CPTs was 66% and 69%, respectively. There were no significant differences in mean scale scores by cancer site or gender, but African Americans had more favorable attitudes toward CTs than European Americans. Multiple regression analysis indicated that older age, lower education level, and prior CT participation history were associated with more favorable attitudes toward CTs. Prior CT participation and prior CPT participation were associated with more favorable attitudes toward CPTs. Results also provided evidence of reliability and construct validity for both scales. Conclusions. Middle age, higher education, and European American ethnicity are associated with less positive attitudes about participating in cancer treatment trials. Availability of a psychometrically sound instrument to measure attitudes may facilitate a better understanding decision making regarding participation in CTs and CPTs. It is this author's intention that the ACTS' scales will be used by other investigators to measure attitudes toward CTs and CPTs in various groups of persons, and that the many issues regarding participation in trials might become more explicit.

Subject Area

Nursing|Oncology|Psychological tests

Recommended Citation

Schuber, Peggy A, "Cancer patients' attitudes toward cancer trials" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3127137.