Therapeutic appropriation: a new concept in the ethics of clinical research

Martin, Dominique, McDougall, Rosalind, Gillam, Lynn, Hallowell, Nina, Brookes, Alison and Guillemin, Marilys 2016, Therapeutic appropriation: a new concept in the ethics of clinical research, Journal of medical ethics, vol. 42, no. 12, pp. 805-808, doi: 10.1136/medethics-2016-103612.

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Title Therapeutic appropriation: a new concept in the ethics of clinical research
Author(s) Martin, DominiqueORCID iD for Martin, Dominique
McDougall, Rosalind
Gillam, Lynn
Hallowell, Nina
Brookes, Alison
Guillemin, Marilys
Journal name Journal of medical ethics
Volume number 42
Issue number 12
Start page 805
End page 808
Total pages 4
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-10-12
ISSN 0306-6800
Keyword(s) bioethics
research ethics
general practice
Summary Ethical concerns about therapeutic misconception have been raised since the early 1980s. This concept was originally described as research participants’ assumptions that decisions relating to research interventions are made on the basis of their individual therapeutic needs. The term has since been used to refer to a range of ‘misunderstandings’ that research participants may have. In this paper, we describe a new concept—therapeutic appropriation. Therapeutic appropriation occurs when patients, or clinicians, actively reframe research participation as an opportunity to enhance patients’ clinical care, while simultaneously acknowledging the generalised research aims. To illustrate the concept of therapeutic appropriation, we draw on data from an interview study which we conducted to investigate the experiences of patients and general practitioners involved in clinical trials in primary care. We argue that therapeutic appropriation has two key elements: comprehension that the research project is not necessarily aiming to benefit participants and the deliberate use of incidental features of the research for personal therapeutic benefit of various kinds. We conclude that therapeutic appropriation is a useful concept that refines understanding of potential ethical problems in clinical research, and points to strategies to address them.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2016-103612
Field of Research 220106 Medical Ethics
1199 Other Medical And Health Sciences
2201 Applied Ethics
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
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