OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to explore women's motivations for participating in a clinical trial and to evaluate how financial compensation impacts women's explanations for participation.
DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Semistructured interviews were conducted face to face or by telephone with 25 of 220 women who participated in a pragmatic randomised trial for app-administered self-care acupressure for dysmenorrhoea (AKUD). Of these 25 women, 10 had entered AKUD knowing they would receive a financial compensation of €30. A purposive sampling strategy was used.
RESULTS: Women had a long history of seeking help and were unsatisfied with the options available, namely painkillers and oral contraceptives. While interviewees were open to painkillers, they were uneasy about taking them on a monthly basis. The AKUD trial offered the possibility to find an alternative solution. A second reason for participation was the desire to add a new treatment to routine medical care, for which the interviewees considered randomised trials a prerequisite. The financial incentive was a subsidiary motivation in the interviewees' narratives.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results contribute to the ongoing discussion of the impact of financial compensation on research participants' assessment of risk. The interviewed women considered all research participants able to make their own choices regarding trial participation, even in the face of financial compensation or payment of study participants. Furthermore, the importance of clinical trials providing new treatments that could change medical practice might be an overlooked reason for trial participation and could be used in future recruitment strategies.