For people who have a need to feel in control, making a choice about health treatments strengthens their chosen treatment’s psychological component, says a team led by Andrew L. Geers of the University of Toledo in Ohio. For example, people who put a hand in ice water for 75 seconds reported less pain (20 versus 24 on a scale up to 44) if they were given a bogus pain-prevention cream; but for high scorers on a “desire for control” test, the effect was more pronounced if they were able to select between two (equally bogus) creams. The findings are part of a growing body of research showing that patient involvement enhances treatment effectiveness.
SOURCE: Why Does Choice Enhance Treatment Effectiveness? Using Placebo Treatments to Demonstrate the Role of Personal Control