The dangers of good intentionsBMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6958.883 (Published 01 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:883
- I Robertson
It is 1939 in urban Massachusetts. A group of social workers and social psychologists devise a plan which will take young delinquents off the streets and give them a stake in society. The scientists among them, however, insist that, though the scheme is self evidently worth while and of benefit to the boys, there must be a control group against which to compare the benefits of this programme of counselling and practical help.
Seven hundred boys are therefore randomly assigned to a control group and to an experimental group respectively. The fortunate 50% receive a twice monthly visit from a counsellor and get …