Serious mental illness research poses many ethical questions, including important considerations pertaining to how large a study is and its source of funding. Little is known about how people with schizophrenia understand these ethical considerations and whether these factors may influence their decisions to participate in research. Structured interviews were conducted with 60 people with schizophrenia. Participants were asked about levels of suffering and the importance of research for healthy people and for people with serious illnesses. Participants also rated helpfulness and harmfulness to society, and their likelihood of participating in studies involving 10 subjects, 1000 subjects, 1 research institution, or 10 research institutions and in studies funded by various organizations. Participants viewed all types of research positively and indicated willingness to volunteer. Likelihood of participating in research was correlated with perceived helpfulness to society and inversely correlated with perceived harmfulness. Research by pharmaceutical companies was seen as less helpful to society than research sponsored by federal or state government or by private foundations. Larger studies conducted at multiple sites were seen as more helpful to society than smaller studies or those at single sites. Larger studies conducted at single sites, however, were seen as more harmful. Respondents endorsed a positive view of medical research and expressed a willingness to participate in projects of all scales with diverse funding sources. The pattern of responses suggests the capacity for a nuanced understanding of ethically salient aspects of medical research by individuals with schizophrenia.
View details for DOI 10.1093/schbul/sbj022
View details for Web of Science ID 000234435700016
View details for PubMedID 16254065