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Title: 'Forging a conviction' : participants' experiences of a western acupuncture randomised controlled trial
Author: Hill, Clare Marie
ISNI:       0000 0001 2434 4367
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2009
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Research into acupuncture has shown that individuals continue to report favourable clinical effects despite the lack of systematic evidence supporting a point specific therapeutic effect for real acupuncture treatment. This thesis presents a qualitative study, nested within a large randomised controlled trial of acupuncture specifically designed to investigate both specific and non-specific effects of western acupuncture for osteoarthritis pain. The aim was to explore the non specific effects of acupuncture in a trial context from the participants’ perspective, in particular the therapeutic relationship and any additional influences on the patient experience that might lead to non-specific effects on outcomes. Participants were recruited from hip or knee joint replacement waiting lists and randomised to one of three treatments (real acupuncture or 2 placebo controls) and one of two consultation conditions (empathic or non- empathic). The qualitative methodology was grounded theory. Data collection combined 27 post trial audio taped, semi structured interviews with post treatment debriefing, participant and non participant observation and personal reflections. The findings of this study identified a core category of ‘forging a conviction’ and a substantive theory of ‘active trial participation’ was developed. Participants gave reasons for entering the trial and for maintaining their commitment to it, despite numerous barriers. These experiences helped to forge convictions about the trial interventions and their effects. As a result a combination of specific and non specific influences appeared to impact on the participants’ reporting of outcomes, leading to discrepancies between the quantitative and qualitative data. This theory of ‘active participation’ in clinical trials challenges some of the basic assumptions of randomized controlled trials, most notably that participants are passive recipients of an intervention and report its effects factually.
Supervisor: Walker, Jan ; White, Peter ; Lewith, George Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RZ Other systems of medicine