Basic Ethical Principles Handbook By Group 1: Sonakshi Bidyadhar (A19042) Manali Gogri (A19139) Ananya Goyal (A19147) Radha Verma (A19491) Index Contents Page Numbers 1.Introduction 1-2 2.General Principles 3-5 3.Before Conducting Psychological Assessments 6-8 4.Conducting Psychological Assessments 9-11 5.After Conducting Psychological Assessments 12-15 6.Specific Issues 16-17 7. Conclusion 18 1 Introduction Psychological assessments are a crucial part of the knowledge base of psychology and have evolved in response to new areas of practice with growth in psychology. Such assessment is a problem-solving process of identifying and using relevant information about an individual (obtained through psychological test, observation, structured and semistructured interviews) for the purpose of decision making and recommendation. Psychological tests, on the other hand, are instruments that assess the psychological construct by obtaining a structured sample of behavior in a specific domain and then quantifying, scoring, interpreting, and synthesizing it. The aim of the Basic Ethical Principles Handbook is to assist and inform psychologists on acceptable practices while using psychological instruments, such as psychometric tests and collateral information, in psychological assessment. This handbook provides specific standards that cover most situations encountered by psychologists while using psychological assessments. Its goal is to ensure the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with 2 whom psychologists collaborate and build their professional and scientific work. The handbook first deals with General Principles that inspire and guide psychologists towards the highest ethical ideals of the profession followed by the Ethics Code for each stage involved in testing and assessment. Finally, it includes procedures for resolving conflicts while adhering to ethical standards during the testing and evaluation process. 3 General Principles Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence Beneficence refers to the psychologist's responsibility to actively contribute to the client's well-being, whereas nonmaleficence refers to the responsibility to refrain from inflicting intentional harm or engaging in actions that may cause harm to others. The principle highlights the most important responsibilities of the psychologist, that is, to preserve the welfare and rights of people who act as research subjects and to find a solution that minimizes harm in the face of conflict. Furthermore, the principle highlights that psychologists should be cognizant that personal, financial, social, organizational and political factors don’t lead to the misuse of their influence as well as the fact that psychologists should be aware of their own mental and physical health and its effect on their ability to help others. 4 Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility To foster growth, psychologists must build trusting relationships with the people they deal with. The second principle of fidelity and responsibility highlights the value of conscientiousness and adherence to ethical principles in psychological practice. Psychologists must define their professional roles and responsibilities, acknowledge responsibility for their actions, avoid conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation, and serve the best interests of the people with whom they work. Psychologists have a responsibility to help ensure that others in the profession abide to high ethical standards. The principle recommends that psychologists, for little or no monetary or personal gain, should engage in activities that improve their colleagues' ethical compliance and conduct. Principle C: Integrity In science, education, and practice of psychology, psychologists strive for accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness and should not steal, cheat, manipulate, fabricate the information or make unambiguous commitments. While using deception, psychologists must examine the need for it and only use it if the potential advantages outweigh the risks. Further they also have a 5 responsibility to address any subsequent fear and distrust, or other negative impacts that come from its usage. Thus, psychologists should also endeavour for transparency and credibility in their practice. Principle D: Justice The principle of justice states that people have a right to access and benefit from advances that have been made in the field of psychology. It highlights the significance of psychologists checking their biases and treating people fairly and equitably. Even if the psychologist treats an individual differently, he should be able to reason the necessity and appropriateness of his actions. Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity Psychologists should value the right to dignity, privacy, and confidentiality of those they work with professionally. They should be aware of the challenges that a specific population experiences, as well as concerns related to diversity, and they should seek to reduce their own biases. Finally, psychologists should take extra precautions to protect the rights and welfare of individuals or groups whose vulnerabilities inhibit their ability to make independent decisions. 6 Before Conducting Psychological Assessments Planning and Selection of Instruments The use of tests with high reliability and validity reduces biases and judgement mistakes and enables comparison with the normative group. Reliability of a test refers to its degree of stability and consistency of a test whereas validity refers to whether a test is accurate regarding the criterion it intends to measure. Thus, a psychologist should strive to remain cognizant of the reliability and validity of the assessment, as well as the context in which it will be employed and the persons for whom it is appropriate. When a test is used for purposes that differ from those investigated by the test developer, or when the characteristics of the population tested differ from the characteristics of the standardization sample, psychologist should explicitly state it along with the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation as specified in standards 9.02 (a) and (b). Standards 2.04 and 9.01 (a) require psychologists to base their assessment or other recommendations, diagnostic and evaluative statements on scientifically and professionally sound established knowledge. 7 Boundaries of Competence and Avoidance of Harm Psychologists should only provide psychological services within their competence, which is characterized as the legal, ethical, and professional scope of their practice and expertise as determined by their education, study, training, supervised or professional experience, and consultation as demarcated in standard 2.01 (a). Further, according to standard 2.01 (b) and (c), if a psychologist intends to provide services or conduct research with populations, techniques, or technologies for which they have not been trained or for whom services are not available, they should obtain competence through relevant education, training, supervised experience, consultation with peers, or study to ensure that services are not denied and harm is avoided. The only exception, as indicated in standard 2.02, is in the event of an emergency, when they can offer service to people for whom they have not been trained until the emergency is resolved or appropriate services are available. Standard 3.04 states that psychologists must exercise great caution to guarantee that neither their employees nor the people being assessed are harmed in any way. In cases where harm is foreseeable and inevitable, it is important to ensure that it is minimized. Furthermore, a 8 psychologist must not engage in or facilitate any form of torture like beating or giving electric shocks, sexual harassment or other inhuman behaviour. Informed Consent Standards 3.10, 9.03 (a) and 9.03 (b) explain the ethical standards related to informed consent. Unless the assessment is compelled by law or the government, or when testing is a routine educational, institutional, or organisational activity, a psychologist must first obtain the informed consent of the individual in person or via electronic means in a language understood by the individual. A psychologist is obligated to provide an appropriate explanation, seek the client's approval, and consider his or her best interests even if the individual is unable to give informed consent. In cases where substitute consent is required, a psychologist must additionally get permission from a legally authorised person. Further, according to Standard 3.07, psychologists who provide testing and assessment services at the request of a third party must first clarify the nature of their relationship with the individuals or organisations involved, as well as the psychologist's role, the potential uses of the test results and the services provided. 9 Conducting Psychological Assessments Management of Assessment Records and Data According to standard 6.01, the psychologist is required to maintain documentation of everything important and control how it is presented to serve as future reference or information that can be passed if the client is transferred to another psychologist. However, standard 4.03 requires the psychologist to acquire consent from the client before recording their voices or photos. Confidentiality of Psychological Assessment Records and Data Psychologists are responsible for safeguarding the confidentiality of psychological assessment data as specified in standard 4.01 by ensuring that information is collected, recorded, stored, and disposed of in a secure manner. Standard 6.2 highlights the steps like coding data on the database that psychologists must undertake to maintain confidentiality of a client's details while storing, accessing, transferring or disposing records. The 10 psychologist must discuss the limits of confidentiality, uses of information generated through testing and alternative options of services in case of premature termination of services. Delegating Administration of Psychological Tests While delegating work to employees, supervisees, research and teaching assistants, psychologists must take adequate steps to ensure that there is no loss of objectivity or exploitation. Standard 2.05 says that work must not be delegated to persons who have multiple relationships with those being evaluated. Employees must be delegated work that falls within their area of competence and which they can fulfil either independently or with supervision. Competence must be maintained in the work done by all employees. Standard 9.03 (c) further adds that psychologists who use the services of an interpreter must first obtain the informed consent of the individual being evaluated and also must ensure that confidentiality is maintained. According to standard 9.07, it is expected that psychologists will refrain from promoting testing and assessment techniques by individuals who are not qualified for the same, unless demonstrated under training situations. 11 For example: Priti is a psychologist who provides testing and assessment services to high schoolers and requires the help of an interpreter to provide services in a school. However, it turns out that the interpreter hired by her, Jasmine, is also the mother of one of the children she is supposed to assess. In this case, Priti must hire another qualified, competent interpreter as Jasmine has multiple relationships with at least one of the assessees (mother and interpreter). Priti must also inform and take the consent of the assessees about the involvement of an interpreter. 12 After Conducting Psychological Assessments Scoring and Interpreting Psychological Tests According to standard 9.09, psychologists should have received adequate training in the administration, scoring and interpretation of the test to be administered, and they should be competent in the field because it requires a variety of skills. Scoring should be based on research or evidence of technique utility in terms of the procedure's purpose, norms, validity, reliability, and applicability, as well as any particular conditions that pertain to its use. The appropriate interpretation of test results and preparation of the report is the responsibility of the psychologist and should be strictly based on results obtained from assessment. Standard 6.06 states that the psychologist must meticulously select the words to be included in the test in order to ensure accurate reporting of results in lieu of payment from the client. For example: A psychologist must clearly differentiate between statements of facts (score on test) and their 13 nterpretation of facts or observations. Rather than interpreting assessment data in isolation, they must analyse assessment in the context of other information about the client as stipulated in standard 9.06. Furthermore, psychologists are required by standard 9.08 to base their findings on current tests and evaluations in order to prevent providing the client with obsolete and misleading information. Communication of Test Results According to standard 9.10, psychologists should communicate the test results along with its strengths and limitations to clients or one of their representatives in simple and straightforward terms, including the limits unless it is specified to the client due to the nature of the test. This enables the test taker in obtaining a clear understanding of the test as well as dispelling any questions or misconceptions regarding the test. Release of Test Data Standards 9.04 (a) and (b) address the disclosure of test data, which is a broad term that encompasses everything from the client's response during the assessment, raw scores, to the therapist's notes and recordings taken to draw inferences. Considering test data can be misused or 14 misinterpreted, the psychologist should refrain from disclosing it until mandated by law. This coincides with standard 4.07 that highlights the duty of psychologists to protect client information unless there is an absolute necessity, such as a legal obligation that every psychologist must comply with when disclosing information. In all other circumstances, such as using data for training purposes the psychologist must either obtain the client's consent or ensure that the person's identity is kept confidential while disclosing information. For example: When the protagonist of the show "How to Get Away with Murder" was on trial for malpractice and murder, her therapist was required to disclose information from their therapy sessions as well as the results of one psychological test by a court order, and the therapist had to comply. 15 Security of Psychological Tests According to standard 9.11, psychologists must strive to preserve test materials, which include test manuals, instruments, stimuli, questionnaires, protocols, and other items, in order to protect authors' intellectual property in compliance with the law and contractual obligations. Test security ensures that test administration, scoring, and interpretation are not compromised (for example, clients having prior knowledge of test item content), but are performed by professionals who have been trained and qualified to use them. This which is particularly important now that test data can be easily distributed over the Internet. 16 Specific Issues Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Clients Standard 9.02 (c) states that unless the use of an alternative language is outside the scope of assessment, the psychologist should determine the language used by the client and his or her competency in it, and use assessment methods that are suited to an individual's language preference and ability. Standard 9.06 highlights the importance of taking into account the effect of socioeconomic, ethical and cultural factors while interpreting the assessment results. Furthermore, Standard 3.01 states that psychologists must not indulge in unfair discrimination of any sort based on an individual’s age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, culture, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status and based on other factors prohibited by law. Development of Psychological Tests A psychologist must engage in the development of new psychological tests as well as revision of pre-existing tests by applying established scientific procedures and relevant 17 psychometric standards for designing and standardising assessment techniques. For this, a psychologist must be conversant with methods of selection of items that reduce bias, methods of establishing reliability and validity of the test, and ways to develop standardized test instructions. Resolution of Conflicts If the ethical responsibility of a psychologist is in conflict with the organization to which they are affiliated or with the government and the laws, then according to standards 1.0 and 1.03, he or she must define the problem, apply the Code of Ethics, and find a solution in line with the General Principles and Standards of the Ethics Code. However, this standard cannot be used to justify or defend human rights violations. Furthermore, according to standard 1.06, psychologists should partake in the investigation of ethics while also mitigating confidentiality issues that arise, because non-cooperation with Ethics committees is a breach of ethics itself. 18 Conclusion This handbook outlines the ethical considerations that psychologists must bear in mind when selecting assessment procedures and applying them to individuals and groups, preparing reports, and communicating results. A thorough informed consent process, including information about third-party involvement and the use of assessment data where applicable, is the starting point for good assessments. Assessors should provide feedback on the report while communicating the results, and assessment reports should be written in simple terms with the expectation that the client will read them. Finally, it is important to note that new assessment areas will continue to emerge, posing new ethical challenges. However, a psychologist should always use ethical commitment, knowledge, and skills when conducting psychological assessments for the care and welfare of the clients.