Trust in Biobank Research: Meaning and Moral Significance
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
What role should trust have in biobank research? Is it a scarce resource to be cultivated, or does its moral significance lie elsewhere? How does it relate to the researcher’s individual responsibility?
In this thesis I draw four general conclusions. First, trust is still very much present in at least some biobanking settings, notably in Sweden, but possibly also internationally. Second, a morally relevant conception of trust entails that to be trustworthy, researchers must consider the normative expectations that people have of them, and renegotiate expectations that are mistaken. Third, this conception differs from “public trust” assessed through surveys. The main use of the latter is to legitimate policy, not to identify moral duties. Fourth, in spite of ethics review, guidelines and informed consent procedures, ethical issues will always arise during the course of a research project. Researchers can therefore never avoid their individual moral responsibility. Ensuring that one is adequately trusted is one step towards conducting morally acceptable research.
Study I indicates that few Swedes refuse storage of samples in healthcare-associated biobanks and their use in research. Study II suggests that people are somewhat more willing to donate samples than surveys indicate, especially when approached face-to-face by health care personnel. Relationships of trust might thus be important in people’s decision-making. Study III investigates trust as a moral concept. The trustee is often in a unique position to determine what the other’s trust amounts to. When it is mistaken, the trustee has an obligation to counteract it, compensate for it, or renegotiate the expectations that cannot be met. In Study IV, I critique the feasibility of guaranteeing the trustworthiness of the research apparatus through formal measures such as ethics review and guidelines. Not only are there limitations of such measures to consider. They also risk blinding researchers to ethical issues that are not covered by the rules, fostering moral complacency, and alienating researchers to ethics.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. , 142 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 861
Biobank, biobank research, bioethics, biobank ethics, research ethics, trust, trustworthiness, moral responsibility, informed consent, ethics review, ethics guidelines
Research subject Bioethics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-192295ISBN: 978-91-554-8585-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-192295DiVA: diva2:599855
2013-03-09, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Solberg, Berge, Professor
Hansson, Mats G., ProfessorHelgesson, Gert, Associate professorEriksson, Stefan, Associate professor
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