Capitalizing on the placebo component of treatments

Chris Beedie, Abigail J. Foad, P. Hurst

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A placebo treatment is traditionally administered in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial to control for the ‘real’ effects of the treatment under investigation. In the present paper a broader view of the placebo is proposed, one in which the idea of a potentially ‘useable’ placebo component of a sports or exercise medicine treatment is presented. It is argued that many interventions in sport and exercise psychology might contain a placebo component that could be capitalized upon by practitioners, through processes often as simple as communicating positive expectations of a treatment to clients. Research findings relating to factors that might influence an individual’s response to a placebo, such as personality, situation and genetics, are briefly addressed. Ethical considerations for practice and future research are discussed. Embargo until 31/07/2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-287
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Sports Medicine Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Behavior change
  • Beliefs
  • Nocebo effect
  • Psychology


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