THE EFFECTS OF AGE, INFORMATION, AND PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATION ON INFORMED CONSENT.
AuthorSHINN, MADELINE JANE.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe informed consent doctrine is based on the idea that an individual possesses the right of self-determination and therefore should retain control over his or her own body. For consent to be valid, the patient must have the capacity to consent, and give the consent knowingly, and voluntarily. In defining these terms and developing guidelines for the implementation of the informed consent doctrine, the law has made many assumptions regarding human behavior. Three of these assumptions became the foci of this study. First, the law assumes that minors lack the overall competence necessary to render legally valid consent. Second, it is assumed that the provision of all treatment information will interfere with the individual's ability to provide a valid consent. And finally, it is assumed that physicians disclose treatment information in a neutral fashion. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the variables: age, information provided, and professional recommendation in the context of the first two components of the informed consent doctrine, capacity and knowledge. In addition, this study investigated the relationship between these variables and the treatment decision made. Sixty junior high school students and sixty college students were randomly assigned to one of six treatment variations in which the amount of information provided and the professional recommendation varied. The groups in each variation listened to two treatment dilemmas. One involved the problem of depression while enuresis was the topic of the second. The dependent measures included (1) the Capacity Scale, (2) the Knowledge Scale, and (3) the Choice Scale. It was found that adults scored significantly higher on the Capacity and Knowledge Scales than minors. Detailed information did not improve nor decrease subjects' Knowledge Scale scores. In addition, professional recommendation was found to significantly affect treatment choices made by subjects. The results was discussed in relation to the legal assumptions underlying the doctrine of informed consent as well as their implications for future research.
Degree ProgramEducational Psychology