Developing strategies to address disparities in retention communication during the consent discussion: development of a behavioural intervention

Taylor Coffey* (Corresponding Author), Eilidh Duncan, Heather Morgan, Katie Gillies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Clinical trials are essential to evidence-based medicine. Their success relies on recruitment and retention of participants: problems with either can affect validity of results. Past research on improving trials has focused on recruitment, with less on retention, and even less considering retention at the point of recruitment, i.e., what retention-relevant information is shared during consent processes. The behaviour of trial staff communicating this information during consent is likely to contribute to retention. So, developing approaches to mitigate issues in retention at the point of consent is necessary. In this study, we describe the development of a behavioural intervention targeting the communication of information important to retention during the consent process.

METHODS: We applied the Theoretical Domains Framework and Behaviour Change Wheel to develop an intervention aimed at changing the retention communication behaviours of trial staff. Building on findings from an interview study to understand the barriers/facilitators to retention communication during consent, we identified behaviour change techniques that could moderate them. These techniques were grouped into potential intervention categories and presented to a co-design group of trial staff and public partners to discuss how they might be packaged into an intervention. An intervention was presented to these same stakeholders and assessed for acceptability through a survey based on the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability.

RESULTS: Twenty-six behaviour change techniques were identified with potential to change communication of retention-information at consent. Six trial stakeholders in the co-design group discussed means for implementing these techniques and agreed the available techniques could be most effective within a series of meetings focussed on best practices for communicating retention at consent. The proposed intervention was deemed acceptable through survey results.

CONCLUSION: We have developed an intervention aimed at facilitating the communication of retention at informed consent through a behavioural approach. This intervention will be delivered to trial staff and will add to the available strategies for trials to improve retention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number296
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2023


  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Communication


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