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J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2018 Dec;13(5):511-524. doi: 10.1177/1556264618797557. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Perceived Risks and Benefits in IPV and HIV Research: Listening to the Voices of HIV-Positive African American Women.

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1 Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA.
2 Fordham University, New York City, NY, USA.


African American women living with HIV were asked to reflect on the perceived risks and benefits of research participation after completing a study examining socially sensitive issues in their lives, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV. Administration of standardized quantitative instruments yielded positive responses to the research experience. However, qualitative assessments of perceived risks and benefits revealed more nuanced responses. For example, confidentiality concerns were more prominent in open-ended responses as was participants' positive attitudes toward monetary compensation. In addition, some women reported that study participation provided them with new insights about their experiences with IPV. Findings suggest that empirical studies on research protections involving potentially distressing and socially sensitive experiences with vulnerable populations require both quantitative and qualitative assessments of perceived risks and benefits. We discuss implications of our findings for ethics practices in trauma-related research among populations with multiple social vulnerabilities.


African American women; HIV; intimate partner violence; research ethics

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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