By Adam L. Fried, Ph.D.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have devoted increased attention to their own self-care in response to high levels of stress in treating individuals with serious mental health conditions. Little attention, however, has been paid to those conducting research with these populations and the unique moral dilemmas encountered by researchers on the front lines. This is especially true for the graduate students, research assistants, and other research staff who are out in the field or in hospitals providing research-related clinical assessments and interventions, as well as other more traditional research tasks, such as participant recruitment and enrollment, with individuals with high levels of anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Posted in Bioethics, Contemporary Ethical Issues
Tagged Adam L. Fried, American Psychological Association, Celia B. Fisher, Clinical Assessments, Clinical Research, Fordham University, Frontline Workers, Health care, Mental health, Mental Health Researchers, Moral Distress, Moral Stress, Professional Resources, Psychiatry, Psychology, Research Ethics
By: Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D.
Imagine you are a forensic psychologist asked during the sentencing phase of a capital punishment case to assess the mental status of a homeless, African American defendant convicted of murder. Your evaluation report states that the defendant has an IQ and adaptive living score bordering on a diagnosis of intellectual disability, but the absence of educational and health records from childhood prevents you from definitively stating he fits the Supreme Court’s definition of “mental retardation” which would preclude the jury from recommending the death penalty. Subsequently the defendant is sentenced for execution.
Would you be surprised to learn that your report may have placed you in violation of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Code of Ethics that prohibits psychological activities that justify or defend violating human rights? Continue reading