Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Doing their duty: An empirical analysis of the unintended effect of Tarasoff

By Griffin Sims Edwards
Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 57, 2014
Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-61


The seminal ruling of Tarasoff v. Regents enacted a duty that required mental health providers to warn potential victims of any real threat to life made by a patient. Many have theorized that this required breach of confidentiality may have adverse effects on effective psychological treatment - but the question remains unanswered empirically. Due to the presence of duty to warn laws, patients might forego mental health treatment that leads them to violence. Using a fixed effects model and exploiting the variation in the timing and style of duty to warn laws across states, I find that mandatory duty to warn laws cause an increase in homicides of 5%. These results are robust to model specifications, falsification tests, and help to clarify the true effect of state duty to warn laws.

The entire article is here.
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