The therapeutic misconception: problems and solutions
Department of Psychiatry
Medical Subject Headings
Beneficence; *Cognition; Cost-Benefit Analysis; *Decision Making; Disclosure; Goals; *Human Experimentation; Humans; *Informed Consent; Patient Care; Patient Participation; Patient Satisfaction; Research; United States
Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry and Psychology
BACKGROUND: The therapeutic misconception occurs when a research subject fails to appreciate the distinction between the imperatives of clinical research and of ordinary treatment, and therefore inaccurately attributes therapeutic intent to research procedures. The therapeutic misconception is a serious problem for informed consent in clinical research.
OBJECTIVES: This paper analyzes the nature and origins of the therapeutic misconception and suggests some ways in which researchers can overcome this problem when obtaining a subject's consent to participation in research.
RESEARCH DESIGN: A conceptual analysis of informed consent to research and a review of the empirical literature are undertaken.
RESULTS: Research and clinical care involve different standards for how the patient/subject is to be treated. The confusion of the two often leads to profound misunderstandings on the part of the patient/subject.
DISCUSSION: A method for describing to patients/subjects the differences between research and treatment is proposed as a potential solution to the therapeutic misconception. Research is needed to determine whether this or any other change in the nature of the disclosure is effective in reducing the therapeutic misconception.
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Citation: Med Care. 2002 Sep;40(9 Suppl):V55-63. Link to article on publisher's site
Lidz, Charles W. and Appelbaum, Paul S., "The therapeutic misconception: problems and solutions" (2002). Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations. 101.