Original articles

Adolescent experiences in a vaccine trial: A pilot study

Amber Abrams, Nandi Siegfried, Hennie Geldenhuys


Little is known about how adolescents experience clinical trials. We assessed the experiences of South African adolescent participants in a clinical trial, employing semi-structured interviews to gather qualitative data on the experiences and effects of trial participation. Despite misunderstanding certain concepts regarding assent and trial processes subsequent to enrolment, participants reported positive experiences overall. Subjects’ motivations for participation included: an ability to help others; receipt of healthcare; and free blood screening. Participants expressed fears associated with trial procedures, such as phlebotomy; however, these apprehensions diminished as the trial progressed. We found that conducting qualitative research within a trial site is feasible, and can provide insight into the uptake and acceptability of interventions.

Authors' affiliations

Amber Abrams, South African Cochrane Centre/ South African Medical Research Council

Nandi Siegfried, Department of Psychiatry, UCT

Hennie Geldenhuys, SATVI, IIDMM, UCT

Full Text



qualitative research; vaccine clinical trial; adolescents; experiences; consent/assent; altruism

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(12):884.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-09-14
Date published: 2011-11-28

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