A US study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), has concluded that video-based consent methods improve consent comprehension of MSM (men who have sex with men) participating in a Web-based HIV behavioural survey.
Web-based surveys are increasingly used to capture data essential for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention research. However, there are challenges in ensuring the informed consent of Web-based research participants.
The aim of the study was to develop and assess the efficacy of alternative methods of administering informed consent in Web-based HIV research with men who have sex with men (MSM).
From July to September 2014, paid advertisements on Facebook were used to recruit adult MSM living in the United States for a Web-based survey about risk and preventive behaviours.
Participants were randomized to one of the 4 methods of delivering informed consent: a professionally produced video, a study staff-produced video, a frequently asked questions (FAQs) text page, and a standard informed consent text page.
Following the behaviour survey, participants answered 15 questions about comprehension of consent information.
Of the 665 MSM participants who completed the comprehension questions:
- 24.2% (161/665) received the standard consent
- 27.1% (180/665) received the FAQ consent
- 26.8% (178/665) received the professional consent video
- 22.0% (146/665) received the staff video
The overall average consent comprehension score was 6.28. The average consent comprehension score differed significantly across consent type, age, race or ethnicity, and highest level of education.
Compared with those who received the standard consent, comprehension was significantly higher for participants who received the professional video consent and participants who received the staff video consent. There was no significant difference in comprehension for those who received the FAQ consent.
Participants spent more time on the 2 video consents than the FAQ and standard consents. Mediation analysis showed that though time spent on the consent page was partially responsible for some of the differences in comprehension, the direct effects of the professional and the staff-produced video were still significant.
The full article can be read on the JMIR website.
Hall EW, Sanchez TH, Stein AD, Stephenson R, Zlotorzynska M, Sineath RC, Sullivan PS
Use of Videos Improves Informed Consent Comprehension in Web-Based Surveys Among Internet-Using Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial
J Med Internet Res 2017;19(3):e64