Social Psychological Perspectives on the Problem of Consent

  • Michael J. Saks
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


The chapters in this volume approach the problem of consent from a variety of perspectives. Some view it as a problem of understanding principles of child development, of clinical assessment, or patient management. Others attend to specific programs to study or enhance children’s decision making or examine consent as a moral-ethical-legal problem: what rights and duties shall govern seeking and granting consent; how shall the power and responsibility to decide be distributed? The present chapter brings yet another set of concerns, methods, and substantive knowledge to this interdisciplinary effort to cope with the problem of consent. It begins by introducing readers to social psychology, then discusses the ways in which this subfield may aid physicians, lawyers, and mental health professionals in dealing intelligently and effectively with the problem. It offers several concrete examples of such contributions and concludes by noting lines of further research and application suggested by the perspective presented. The discussion and examples center about the problem of consent in medical settings, notably transplants from minor donors. I have no doubt, however, that the various propositions made about the role of social psychological knowledge, research, evaluation strategy, and so on, are applicable in other settings where competence to consent is at issue.


Social Psychology Evaluation Research Situational Variable Oppositional Behavior Harmful Side Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Saks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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