Qualitative study of barriers to clinical trial retention in adults with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes

Catherine Henshall, Parth Narendran, Robert Andrews, Amanda Daley, Keith Stokes, Amy Kennedy, Sheila Greenfield

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: Regular physical exercise may preserve beta cell function in newly diagnosed adults with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). However clinical trials to test this theory require the recruitment and retention of adults with new onset T1D, which can be challenging. We sought to determine the overall experiences of newly-diagnosed adults with T1D in an exercise study, to understand issues that influence the retention of trial participants in such studies.

Design: Qualitative methodology using individual face to face (n=6) and telephone interviews (n=14). Interview transcripts were thematically analysed using the Framework Method

Setting: The study took place at five participating UK hospitals.

Participants: Twenty participants, aged 19-55 years, in the Exercise for Type 1 Diabetes (EXTOD) study were interviewed to explore their study experiences and identify motivators and deterrents towards the study. Participants in control and intervention arms were interviewed, as were people with T1D who had completed (n=16) and withdrawn (n=4).

Results: Participants revealed barriers and facilitators to retention; the majority were generalisable to clinical trials of people with newly-diagnosed T1D. Coming to terms with a diagnosis of T1D, lack of time, work pressures, level of health professional support, volume, clarity and consistency of information and feedback and a desire for knowledge about their condition were all cited as influencing factors to trial retention.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative study to examine the experience of being involved in an exercise trial by people with T1D . Findings suggest: appointments could be shorter, available outside of working hours and planned longer in advance; study information should be clear, consistent and in electronic and paper formats; questionnaires need minimising; healthcare support and feedback needs providing regularly; thought is required around how to support non-exercising arm participants. These considerations may improve participant retention rates in new onset T1D studies.

Keywords: Type 1 diabetes; Exercise; Physical Activity; Trial Retention; Clinical Trials; Participants; Adults; Diagnosis
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022353
JournalBMJ open
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2018


  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Physical Activity
  • Trial Retention
  • Clinical Trials
  • Participants
  • Adults
  • Diagnosis


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