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Standard of protection of research participants

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Professional Psychology: Debating Chamber · Psychology Journals · Psychologists


Psychologists should:

  • Consider all research from the standpoint of research participants, for the purpose of eliminating potential risks to psychological well-being, physical health, personal values, or dignity.
  • Undertake such consideration with due concern for the potential effects of, for example, age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion, marital or family status, or sexual orientation, seeking consultation as needed from those knowledgeable about such effects.
  • Ask research participants from the first contact about individual factors that might reasonably lead to risk of harm, and inform research participants of any action they should take to minimise Such risks.
  • Refrain from using financial compensation or other inducements for research participants to risk harm beyond that which they face in their normal lifestyles
  • Obtain the considered and non-subjective approval of independent advisors whenever concluding that harm, unusual discomfort, or other negative consequences may follow from research, and obtain supplemental informed consent from research participants specific to such issues.
  • Inform research participants from the first contact that their right to withdraw at any time is not affected by (he receipt or offer of any financial compensation or other inducements for participation.
  • Inform research participants from the first contact that they may decline to answer any questions put to them, while conveying as well that this may lead to termination of their participation. particularly when safety issues are implicated.
  • Inform research participants when evidence is obtained of a psychological or physical problem of which they are apparently unaware, if it appears that failure to do so may endanger their present or future well-being.
  • Exercise particular caution when responding to requests for advice from research participants concerning psychological or other issues, and offer to make a referral for assistance if the inquiry appears to involve issues sufficiently serious to warrant professional services.
  • When conducting research involving animals:
    • observe the highest standards of animal welfare, including reduction to the minimum of any pain, suffering, fear, distress, frustration, boredom, or lasting harm;
    • avoid the infliction of any of these conditions which cannot be strictly justified.



NB The above standards are based on the Code of Ethics and Conduct published by BPSin 2006.

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