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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.