Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Research Participation Among Older African Americans

Kathryn L. Gwizdala, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Erika A. Pugh, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
Leah Carter, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Owen T. Carmichael, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Robert L. Newton, Pennington Biomedical Research Center.


COVID-19 represents the newest health disparity faced by African Americans (AA). This study assessed the impact of COVID-19 on barriers and willingness to participate in research among older AAs. An online survey was sent to a nationwide sample of 65- to 85-year-old AAs between January and February 2021. Constant comparison analysis was used to extract themes. A total of 624 older AAs completed the survey. Approximately 40% of participants were willing to engage in virtual or in-person research. Of the individuals who were willing to participate in research, >50% were willing to engage in a spectrum of activities from group discussions to group exercise. Research participation themes related to logistics, technology, pandemic fears, and privacy or security. Older AAs face new research barriers that can be overcome through data use transparency and technology resources. This information can be used to encourage dementia research engagement among older AAs despite the pandemic.