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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: 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.