The study aims to explore the potentially influential factors affecting women's decision to accept/decline participation in surgical randomised trial using a novel acceptance/refusal questionnaire (ARQ). All women who were eligible to participate in SIMS-RCT were asked to complete the relevant section (acceptance/refusal) of the ARQ. Women reported its degree of relevance for their decision on a six-point Likert scale (0 = highly irrelevant, 5 = highly relevant). 135 (98%) and 31 (70%) women completed the acceptance and refusal sections of the ARQ, respectively. The most influencing factor in women's acceptance was the anticipation of "potential personal benefit"; percentage of relevance (POR) was 91.9%, followed by interest in helping others by "supporting innovative medical research"; POR was 87.7%. Most influencing factor in refusal for participation was "do not have time for follow-up"; POR was 56.8%, followed by "do not like the concept of randomisation"; POR was 54.4%. In conclusion, this study identifies the most influential factors relevant to women decision-making whether or not to participate in RCTs assessing surgical interventions for female stress urinary incontinence (SUI). A number of factors leading to refusal of participation are potentially correctable leading to better recruitment rates in future RCTs.
The authors thank Dr. Shona Fielding (Senior Statistician—University of Aberdeen) for the independent cross-checking of the data and statistical analysis. The authors thank “Henry Smith Charity” for their grant that enabled this study to be completed.