This chapter reviews the problem of finding the 'right level' of causal explanation in psychiatry. This is not a purely philosophical problem, but one that frequently arises in practice for psychiatrists. For most scientists, experiment is the crucial test of a causal hypothesis: for X to cause Y is for intervention on X to be reflected in a change in the value of Y. But this kind of approach cannot tell us the right "level" at which to specify the causes of a particular outcome. The natural idea is the right level is one that specifies the 'mechanism' by which Y is produced. But the notion of a "mechanism" in psychiatry is obviously problematic. This chapter attempts to locate the sources of the difficulty here, looking at both a priori and empirical views as to when a "mechanism" has been correctly specified.
Michelle Hilgart, Frances P. Thorndike, Jose Pardo, and Lee M. Ritterband
Increased access to and use of the Internet is significantly impacting health care, psychological practice, and clinical research, leading to the development of a new field called eHealth. This chapter highlights the ethical issues associated with providing psychological interventions over the Internet, in the context of both research trials and delivery of clinical services. It covers both the ethical benefits of eHealth (greater access to treatment, increased options for communication, enhanced convenience, potential cost savings, and improved data collection) and the challenges surrounding the delivery of eHealth (informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, appropriateness of online treatment, online assessment, identity verification, data validity, communication, competence, crisis intervention, and legal concerns). By more clearly defining eHealth interventions, the inherent ethical challenges can become more transparent and ethics codes can be more aptly developed. While ethics codes will be challenged to keep pace with evolving technologies, researchers should continue to investigate the ethical benefits and challenges of delivering eHealth interventions and then work to make these benefits and risks known through evolving codes of practice.
Mark M. Leach, Benjamin Jeppsen, and Steve Discont
Research on the comparisons of ethics standards across ethics codes has increased over the past decade, with the goal of determining common standards. Finding these common standards may help assess the degree to which psychology shares common values, as well as help ascertain what psychology considers good ethical practices regardless of country. The purpose of this chapter was to uncover ethical standards common to research practices across national codes of ethics. This study did not use a particular code as the foundation from which to compare other codes, reducing ethnocentric bias. Results indicated common research standards across countries, with additional trends for consideration.