Allison R. Kaup of San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, and colleagues said 65.5 percent of people undergoing the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research made errors resulting from difficulty recalling study information, while 22.6 percent overemphasized the potential for personal gain from study participation.
People's "responses were also notable for the errors they did not make," the researchers said in a statement. "Ethical concerns have been raised surrounding the notion that psychotic symptoms per se e.g., delusional thinking might impede the capacity for decision-making. However, in the present analyses, no evidence supports detrimental effects of psychosis on decisional capacity for research participation among this outpatient sample."
Additionally, 90.5 percent of participants understood that the study was voluntary after hearing the study information only once.
When the information was repeated, all but one participant understood the voluntary nature.
"Despite concerns regarding the potential for coercion, the fact that the vast majority of participants in the present study recognized the voluntary nature of participation suggests that perceived coercion is uncommon," the researchers said.
The findings were published in the IRB: Ethics & Human Research.