Hofling et al(1966)

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 17-04-13 16:17


Investigate what happens when a nurse is ordered to carry out a procedure which goes           against her professional standards.


  • Identical boxes of capsules, placed in 22 wards in USA
  • Were placebos but were labelled '5mg capsules of Astrofen'
  • Label also indicated max daily dose of 10 mg
  • 'Doctor' instructed nurse by phone to give patient 20mg of astrofen as he was in a hurry and patient needed capsules
  • Said he would sign authorisation when he got there
  • Real doctor nearby observed what the nurse did next
  • Then they revealed to the nurse what was really going on.


  • 21 out of 22 nurses obeyed
  • 11 said they were aware of discrepancy in the dosage
  • Dramatic difference between what nurses interviewed said they would do and…


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