Cultural barriers to African American participation in anxiety disorders research

Monnica T. Williams, Diana A. Beckmann-Mendez, Eric Turkheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are understudied, underdiagnosed, and undertreated in African Americans. Research focused on the phenomenology, etiology, and treatment of anxiety in African Americans has been hampered by lack of inclusion of this population in clinical research studies. The reason for exclusion is not well understood, although cultural mistrust has been hypothesized as a major barrier to research participation. This article reviews the relevant literature to date and examines the experience of 6 African American adults who participated in a larger clinical assessment study about anxiety. Drawing upon in-depth semistructured interviews about their subjective experiences, we examined participant perspectives about the assessment process, opinions about African American perception of anxiety studies, and participant-generated ideas about how to improve African American participation. Based on a qualitative analysis of responses, feelings of mistrust emerged as a dominant theme. Concerns fell under 6 categories, including not wanting to speak for others, confidentiality, self and group presentation concerns, repercussions of disclosure, potential covert purposes of the study, and the desire to confide only in close others. Suggestions for increasing African American participation are discussed, including assurances of confidentiality, adequate compensation, and a comfortable study environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Volume105
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Anxiety
  • Barriers
  • Health disparities
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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