Introduction: The problems associated with clinical trial participation have been highlighted in the literature, but few studies have examined why patients decline to participate. Aims: To describe non-participants' and participants' characteristics and examine reasons for non-participation in a pragmatic trial of energy healing for rehabilitation for colorectal cancer. Methods: Three to seven days after postal recruitment, all eligible participants (n=783) were contacted by telephone. Reasons given for non-participation were recorded in 5 categories. Data were analyzed using Chi2. Results: More men than women declined to participate (men=55.7%; women=44.3%; p=0.022). Non-participants were on average older than participants (non-participants: mean age 68.4; SD (9); participants: mean age 64; SD (8.8); p<. 0.001), and had only received surgery (non-participants=54.1%; participants=40.1%; p<. 0.001). The most frequent reasons for non-participation were (1) No need for rehabilitation (n=81; 28.6%), (2) participation too burdensome (n=67; 23.7%), and (3) no interest in energy healing (n=57; 20.1%). If the time span between study recruitment and surgery was 0-9 months, participation was frequently considered too burdensome (p=0.020), especially by women (n=45; 67.2%; p=0.001) and those aged ≥68 (n=54; 80.6%; p=0.013); rehabilitation was frequently considered not needed 10-17 months after surgery (p=0.035). Conclusion: Non-participation in a trial of energy healing as rehabilitation for colorectal cancer revealed an interplay between non-participants' demographic characteristics, health experiences, everyday life priorities and the offered rehabilitation intervention. To optimize recruitment to studies of cancer rehabilitation, consideration of disease trajectories and potential participants' rehabilitation needs is suggested.
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, Vol 6, Issue 3, p. 268-276