Motivating and Discouraging Factors for Bipolar Patient Participation in Genomic Research

Eric J. Vallender, Mark E. Ladner, Margaret O. Akinhanmi, Felicia V. Caples, Mark A. Frye, Joyce E. Balls-Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The goal of this project was to better understand the motivating and discouraging factors toward genetic research and biobank programs in patients with bipolar disorder, particularly across gender and racial identities. Methods: A survey (n = 63) of adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder was conducted at the general psychiatric inpatient unit and outpatient clinic at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Participants were asked to rate on a Likert scale their attitudes toward medical research generally, mental health research specifically, and willingness to participate in a bipolar DNA biobank. Last, they were asked to endorse motivating factors or concerns for their attitude toward participation. Results: Neither attitudes toward research nor willingness to participate in a bipolar biobank differed across gender, age, or education level, but Black/African American participants were statistically significantly less likely to endorse a willingness to participate in a biobank compared to White participants. As observed in previous work, Black/African American participants were significantly more likely to endorse concerns regarding violations of trust, privacy, or autonomy. However, while there were no significant differences in discouraging factors among individuals who indicated an opposition to participating in a biobank compared to those who indicated support, there was a significant decrease in support of motivating factors, including increasing knowledge, personal benefit, and duty to community, for those not interested in participating. Conclusions: Black/African American participants with bipolar disorder were more likely to express concerns about DNA and biobank research. But while race was a contributing factor to support or opposition to biobanking for bipolar disorder research, more salient was insufficient positive motivation. These results highlight the need to emphasize contemporary safeguards on DNA research and biobanking as an ethical duty and to identify the need for community-based educational interventions to promote a greater understanding of the positive benefits to motivate increased research participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalPublic health genomics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Biobank
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Ethnic/racial minorities
  • Psychiatric genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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