There is an extensive ethical debate regarding the justifiability of doctors nudging towards healthy behaviour and better health-related choices. One line of argument in favour of nudging is based on empirical findings, according to which a healthy majority among the public support nudges. In this paper, we show, based on an experiment we conducted, that, in health-related choices, people’s ethical attitudes to nudging are strongly affected by the point of view from which the nudge is considered. Significant differences have been found between doctors’ ethical attitude to clinical nudging and that of patients. We show how these differences weaken the argument for nudging from public support. Moreover, our findings raise concerns regarding doctors’ ability to nudge ethically according to their own standards, as they may underestimate the degree of harm medical nudges can cause to informed consent, doctor–patient trust and other important ethically relevant features of health-related choices.
- informed consent
- health promotion
- patient perspective
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Contributors DA is responsible for the overall content. RB has contributed to the conception of the work and data collection. IN-R has contributed to the conception of the work, interpretation of the findings and critical revision of the article. EA has contributed to the data analysis and interpretation, and critical revision of the article. HC has contributed to the conception of the work, data collection and analysis. In addition, all contributors gave final approval of the version to be published.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval The Ethics Committee for undergraduate theses in the PEP program, The Hebrew University.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement The data we collected and analysed in our study is available on Harvard Dataverse. We attach here the links to the data sheets:
https://dataverse.harvard.edu/file.xhtml?fileId=3152318&version=DRAFT&version=, https://dataverse.harvard.edu/file.xhtml?fileId=3152319&version=DRAFT&version=, https://dataverse.harvard.edu/file.xhtml?fileId=3152317&version=DRAFT&version=, https://dataverse.harvard.edu/file.xhtml?fileId=3152316&version=DRAFT&version=
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