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Schizophr Bull. 2003;29(3):607-13.

What is ethically important in clinical research? A preliminary study of attitudes of 73 psychiatric faculty and residents.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.


The ethical caliber of psychiatric research ultimately rests upon the shoulders of psychiatric clinicians and investigators who perform protocols and are directly responsible for the welfare of study volunteers. Little is known, however, about ethically relevant attitudes of psychiatrists toward human research. Working as part of a larger study, we surveyed all psychiatry faculty and residents at one institution in 1999 regarding the relative importance of 12 elements in the ethical conduct of human research. Responses of 73 participants were analyzed, and three factors emerged: Safeguards and Scientific Merit, Investigator Integrity and Relationship, and Patient Benefit. Safeguards and Scientific Merit, as a set, were the most salient considerations for both psychiatry faculty and residents. We found that residents placed greater importance on all factors and nearly every element than did faculty. Future research is needed to clarify the understanding of the perspectives and priorities of different stakeholders involved in human studies.

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