Influences of race and clinical variables on psychiatric genetic research participation


Advances in genetics has led to a better understanding of both genetic and environmental contributions to psychiatric mental health disorders. But psychiatric genetics research is predominantly Eurocentric, and individuals of non-European ancestry continue to be significantly underrepresented in research studies with potential to worsen existing mental health disparities. The objective of this study was to examine factors associated with genetic study participation in a schizophrenia sample. The study sample was extracted from the Clinical Antipsychotics Trial of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) schizophrenia study which enrolled 1493 patients with chronic schizophrenia between the ages of 18–65 years and incorporated an optional genetic sub-study. Using a logistic regression model (N = 1249), we examined sociodemographic and clinical variables that were independently associated with the outcome i.e., participation in the genetic sub-study. The genetic sub-study had a lower proportion of Black (30% in genetic vs 40% in CATIE overall) and other race (4% vs 6%) participants. Increased severity of psychopathology symptoms (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78, p = 0.004) decreased the odds whereas better reasoning scores (OR = 1.16, p = 0.036) increased the odds of genetic study participation. Compared to Black participants, White participants were significantly more likely to participate in the genetic sub-study (OR = 1.43, p = 0.009). Clinical factors in addition to race significantly impact genetic study participation of individuals with chronic schizophrenia. Our findings highlight the need for future research that examines the interactive effects of race and clinical factors such as symptom severity on psychiatrically ill individuals’ choice to participate in genetics studies and to identify targeted strategies to increase equitable representation in psychiatric genetics research.

Plos One