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Participant Reactions to Disease Risk Information

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Trial Information

Participant Reactions to Disease Risk Information

This study will investigate interactions between doctors and patients regarding risks of
common, complex diseases using virtual reality technology.

Men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 who have access to the Internet and were born
and raised in the United States may be eligible for this study. Participants will be
recruited from the Washington D.C. area.

Study subjects complete two phases. The first phase is to complete an online questionnaire
about their heath-related background, family health history, cancer risk perceptions, and
demographic information using a secure survey website. The second phase involves
interacting with a virtual doctor in a virtual environment clinical scenario, followed by
completion of a second questionnaire. While in the virtual environment, participants wear a
head-mounted video unit that allows them to see elements of the environment. The activities
in the virtual environment take about 15 minutes. The total time for the study is about 60

Inclusion Criteria


- Self-reported ability to speak, read, and write in English.

- Self identifying as African-American or Black

- Having been born and raised in the U.S.

- Not having been diagnosed with any of the diseases used in the experiment.

- Being between 25 and 40 years of age.

- Having access to the Internet.

- Both men and women will be included in the study.


- Individuals below the age of 25 because they might not yet have completed their
education and those above the age of 40 because they might have less familiarity with
interactive technologies than younger individuals.

- Because the study will utilize virtual reality technology, individuals who are
particularly susceptible to motion sickness will be excluded.

- All individuals with epilepsy, low vision, hearing problems, and vestibular disorders
(e.g., vertigo) will be excluded from the study for safety reasons.

- We will re-screen for safety exclusion criteria when participants arrive to
participate in the in-person portion of the study.

Type of Study:


Study Design:


Outcome Measure:

Adjustment in subjective disease risk estimates

Principal Investigator

Susan Persky, Ph.D.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

October 2008

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Cancer
  • Health Disparities
  • Risk Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Doctor-Patient Communication
  • Virtual Reality Technology
  • Communication



National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland  20892