Ethical issues in trauma-related research: a review

J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2006 Sep;1(3):29-46. doi: 10.1525/jer.2006.1.3.29.


ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING ABOUT TRAUMA-RELATED STUDIES requires a flexible approach that counters assumptions and biases about victims, assures a favorable ethical cost-benefit ratio, and promotes advancement of knowledge that can benefit survivors of traumatic stress. This paper reviews several ethical issues in the field of traumatic stress: benefit and risks in trauma-related research, whether trauma-related research poses unique risks and if so what those might be, informed consent and mandatory reporting, and supervision of trauma-related research. For each topic, we review potential ethical issues, summarize the research conducted thus far to inform ethical practice, and recommend future practice, research questions and policies to advance the field so that research on trauma can continue to be a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the research enterprise.