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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Are practitioners becoming more ethical?

By Rebecca Clay
The Monitor on Psychology
May 2017, Vol 48, No. 5
Print version: page 50

The results of research presented at APA's 2016 Annual Convention suggest that today's practitioners are less likely to commit such ethical violations as kissing a client, altering diagnoses to meet insurance criteria and treating homosexuality as pathological than their counterparts 30 years ago.

The research, conducted by psychologists Rebecca Schwartz-Mette, PhD, of the University of Maine at Orono and David S. Shen-Miller, PhD, of Bastyr University, replicated a 1987 study by Kenneth Pope, PhD, and colleagues published in the American Psychologist. Schwartz-Mette and Shen-Miller asked 453 practicing psychologists the same 83 questions posed to practitioners three decades ago.

The items included clear ethical violations, such as having sex with a client or supervisee. But they also included behaviors that could reasonably be construed as ethical, such as breaking confidentiality to report child abuse; behaviors that are ambiguous or not specifically prohibited, such as lending money to a client; and even some that don't seem controversial, such as shaking hands with a client. "Interestingly, 75 percent of the items from the Pope study were rated as less ethical in our study, suggesting a more general trend toward conservativism in multiple areas," says Schwartz-Mette.

The article is here.
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