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ABSTRACT: Federal regulations, ethical standards, and state laws governing ethics do not adequately address important issues in couple and family research. Including multiple family members, particularly dependent minors, in research requires the special application of fundamental ethical issues, such as confidentiality, privacy, and informed consent. The sensitive, commingled nature of couple and family information necessitates clear policies about data ownership and disclosure. Researchers need to have respect for the family as a unit and to evaluate benefits versus harms for the family as well as for individuals. This article highlights areas of potential concern and ambiguity related to abuse reporting and Certificates of Confidentiality and also addresses ethical issues with observational data, intervention studies, longitudinal designs, and computer-assisted research.
Journal of Family Psychology 04/2005; 19(1):157-67. DOI:10.1037/0893-318.104.22.168 · 1.89 Impact Factor