Attitudes toward clinical trials among patients and the public

JAMA. 1982 Aug 27;248(8):968-70.


Attitudes toward clinical research, the focus of recent and damaging media attention, were assessed through questionnaires completed anonymously by 104 patients with cancer, 84 cardiology patients, and 107 members of the general public. Responses differed neither by subgroup nor by demographic variables. Data are therefore reported on the total population of 295 subjects. Most respondents (71%) believed that patients should serve as research subjects. In support of this belief, the majority cited potential benefit ot others and the opportunity to increase scientific knowledge, but a different bias emerged when they were asked about their own potential participation. This study shows that diverse respondents view clinical trials as important, ethical, and as a means of attaining superior clinical care. Major importance is attributed to making contributions to medical knowledge and to helping future patients. Contrasts are noted in patients' views of their own treatments v treatments of "'hypothetical others."

KIE: Attitudes toward clinical trials, as assessed through questionnaires completed by 104 cancer patients, 84 cardiology patients, and a control group of 107 members of the general public, revealed no differences of opinion either by subgroup or by demographic variables. Most respondents believed patients should serve as research subjects regardless of medical status, and that participation helps future patients and increases medical knowledge while providing superior care in an ethical setting. However, responses concerning potential personal participation revealed more self concern and less altruism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Control Groups
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Public Opinion*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States