Foundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in Psychology

By Karen Strohm Kitchener | Go to book overview

Appendix C
Ethics Cases

CHAPTER 1

Case 1-1: A married man with two small children enters into therapy with a psychologist. In the course of treatment, he reveals that he is bisexual and is HIV positive. He fears he will develop the symptoms of AIDS but does not wish his wife to know of his condition unless he does so. Even after the psychologist reasons with him, he refuses to tell his wife, although he does indicate that most of the time they use condoms as a form of birth control.

Case 1-2: A professor gives a similar assignment to his graduate seminar each year. It involves designing a study to explore a particularly difficult problem that the class has studied. When the papers are turned in, he notices that one of the papers is remarkably like a paper he received the previous year. He confronts the student with the possibility that she has plagiarized. The student explains that there was a recent death in her family and that she was having difficulty concentrating. As a result, she read a former student's paper to get herself thinking about the task. She claims that she designed the study herself and didn't think the paper she read influenced her work. When the professor points out the similarities she seems genuinely surprised at the amount of overlap. The professor is perplexed by the student's actions because he has always found her to have a great deal of integrity and to be one of the best students in the class.

Case 1-3: A medical researcher has received a large multiyear grant to study the use of gene therapy to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. No one has systematically asked whether the therapy improves the patients' perceived quality of life or that of the family. The principal investigator (PI) hesitantly agrees to allow a psychologist to add a pre-post questionnaire to the battery of tests that will be given the research participants but informs the psychologist that the consent form for medical treatment will adequately cover the psychologist's research as well as the medical procedure. Although the medical consent form notes the medical risks, it does not mention the occasions when confidentiality may need to be broken, such as when a patient is a danger to self or others. The PI indicates that if the psychologist does not believe that is sufficient, the psychologist can drop out of the project.


CHAPTER 2

Case 2-1: A 52-year-old retarded adult who has been institutionalized most of his

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