Ethics in Mental Health Research: Principles, Guidance, and Cases / Edition 1

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Research holds a key to preventing and effectively treating mental disorders, including ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. Yet even as research holds out promise, mental health researchers face numerous ethical challenges. Responsible for ensuring participants are able and willing to grant consent, researchers must also constantly protect privacy and confidentiality. But for so many situations, the appropriate decisions are not so clear. An individual with cognitive deficits may have difficulty understanding a research study and granting informed consent, but nevertheless wants to participate. Many studies gather private information about medical records or illegal behaviors that could lead to emotional, social, or legal harm if shared, yet state laws and institutional review boards may require researchers to breach confidentiality in specific situations. Moreover, mental health consumers and other vulnerable research participants are frequently familiar with historical cases of abuse of human subjects, and may be mistrustful of researchers or fear exploitation. At the same time, researchers are often frustrated when they feel that advocates or institutional review boards erect barriers to research, even while failing to enhance the ethical treatment of participants. Ethical research is rarely simply about avoiding bad activities, and more frequently about how to pursue good research when multiple values and commitments conflict. Ethics in Mental Health Research explores how ethical issues arise in mental health research, and offers concrete guidance to researchers who seek to comply with federal regulations while conducting research that is at once ethical and scientifically credible. Case studies used throughout illustrate a variety of situations and effective problem-solving strategies. This book is essential reading for mental health researchers, IRB members, and research advocates.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A.(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: The human capacity for self-determination and independence is thought to be the hallmark of autonomy. Autonomy has been a guiding principle for contemporary bioethics along with the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The civil rights movement, medical paternalism, and abuses within medical research as well as in mental health research have given rise to the emphasis on patient and research participant autonomy during the past three decades. This contemporary emphasis on patient and research participant rights has focused on and highlighted the concept of autonomy which is the ethical foundation for informed consent, informed refusal, and the right to privacy and confidentiality. This excellent book provides researchers and IRB reviewers with a guide to these important ethical and regulatory issues that are involved in mental health research. Written and edited by a nationally recognized bioethicist, this book is a welcome contribution the field of research ethics.
Purpose: The purpose is to emphasize and remind the mental health research community that the main ethical conflict in such research is between competing goods — such as the good of safe research and the good of advancing scientific knowledge. The author's goal is to detail the ethical and social issues that are required to be factored in the balancing of competing goods in research.
Audience: The intended audience includes "mental health researchers, IRB members, and research advocates." Anyone involved in the research enterprise, including CEOs of industries sponsoring mental health research, should be required to read and understand the ethical principles described in this exceptional book.
Features: Topics covered in the 10 chapters include the ethics vs. compliance dilemma, the Willowbrook ethical issues, informed consent, decisional capacity, harms and benefits, distributive justice, placebo controls, privacy and confidentiality, and conflicts of interests. Each chapter concludes with timely and relevant citations of the scientific literature.
Assessment: This outstanding book on mental health research ethics certainly will become obligatory reading for anyone contemplating research on mental illness as well as anyone responsible for the ethical and regulatory review of such research.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195179934
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/10/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James DuBois is the Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair and Department Chair in Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University. He has served on several National Institute of Health scientific review groups, a National Institute of Drug Abuse data safety monitoring board, an Institute of Medicine committee on organ donation, and local institutional review boards (IRBs). His work has received significant financial support from the National Institutes of Health and the US Office of Research Integrity.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Focus on Mental Health Research?.
1. Ethics and Regulatory Compliance: Competing or Complementary Approaches?
2. An Ethical Framework for Research
3. Solving Ethical Problems: Analyzing Ethics Cases and Justifying Decisions Case Study: Willowbrook Revisited
4. Informed Consent Case Study: Withholding information on study purpose with mothers at risk of abusing children
5. Decision-Making Capacity and the Involvement of Surrogates Case Study: Participation in a schizophrenia drug trial motivated by an unusual belief Case Study: Waiving parental permission for qualitative research on high-risk sex practices among teens who use heroine
6. Thinking about Harms and Benefits Case Study: A study of suicidality with at-risk teens
7. Justice in Recruitment and Research Case Study: Reimbursing participants for their time in a psychotherapy trial Case Study: Biological studies of aggressive behavior in preteens
8. Research Questions and Study Design Case Study: Placebo controlled trials involving participants with depression
9. Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality Case Study: Whether to report sex with a minor when a certificate of confidentiality has been issued
10. Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest Case Study: Multiple illustrative vignettes

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