Offering remuneration for participation in studies of aging and Alzheimer Disease (AD) may improve recruitment, particularly among minoritized and low-income groups. But remuneration may also raise ethical problems and reduce altruistic motivations for participation.
A nationally representative sample of Americans (N=2030) with large (N=500) Black and Hispanic oversamples was asked about willingness to participate in a longitudinal AD cohort study after random assignment of remuneration ($0, $50/visit, $100/visit). Respondents were then asked about their perceived burden, risks, and societal contribution from participation.
An offer of remuneration increased willingness to participate, with no difference between $50 and $100. The increase was similar across racial, ethnic, and income groups. Remuneration did not affect perceived risks or altruistic benefits. Compensation caused Whites and Hispanics, but not Blacks, to lower the perceived burden.
Modest levels of remuneration are likely to improve recruitment to AD research studies without causing collateral ethical or motivation problems. Remuneration does not differentially enhance minority recruitment.