Deception research involving children: ethical practices and paradoxes.

Center for EThics Education, Dealy Hall, Fordham University, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA.
Ethics & Behavior (Impact Factor: 0.78). 02/2005; 15(3):271-87. DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb1503_7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This commentary draws on the thoughtful contemplation and innovative procedures described in the special section articles as well as current professional codes and federal regulations to highlight ethical practices and paradoxes of deception research involving children. The discussion is organized around 4 key decision points for the conduct of responsible deception research involving children: (a) evaluating the scientific validity and social value of deception research within the context of alternative methodologies, (b) avoiding and minimizing experimental risk, (c) the use of child assent procedures as questionable ethical safeguards, and (d) debriefing as both remedy and risk.

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    ABSTRACT: This article is a reconsideration of Tesch's (1977)72. Tesch , F. E. 1977 . Debriefing research participants: Though this be method there is madness to it. . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 35 : 217 – 224 . [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®]View all references ethical, educational, and methodological functions for debriefing through a literature review and an Internet survey of authors of articles published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Journal of Traumatic Stress. We advocate for a larger ethical role for debriefing in nondeception research. The educational function of debriefing is examined in light of the continued popularity of undergraduate participant pools. A case is made for the methodological function of debriefing to clarify aspects of research participation. Recommendations are made to improve the conducting and reporting of debriefings.
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    ABSTRACT: Deception has been used to investigate the role of developmental and behavioral factors in child health; however, its acceptability for use in pediatric research has received little empirical attention. This study examined the acceptability of deception in a pediatric pain research study as assessed through participating children's and parents' long-term perceptions of its use. Ninety-four children (52 boys; meanage = 12.77 yr) and their parents (86 mothers, 8 fathers) completed a structured interview that assessed perceptions of various aspects of deception in a pediatric pain study, 2.5 years after participating. A minority of parents (25.5%) and children (13.8%) spontaneously recalled that deception was used. Overall, parents and children reported positive experiences with research participation, felt comfortable with the debriefing process, and deemed the research to be of societal importance. Opinions about researchers and psychologists were not negatively impacted, and most reported willingness to participate in research involving deception again. When thoughtfully planned and disclosed, deception in pediatric research seems to be acceptable to parents and children. Future research should further examine the acceptability of deception and alternatives (e.g., authorized deception) among pediatric samples.
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Jun 1, 2014