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Dr. Daniela Yeung, a community psychologist, has been conducting a federally funded
ethnographic study of men’s attitudes toward intimate partner violence following
conviction and release from prison for spousal abuse. Over the course of a year, she has
had individual monthly interviews with 25 participants while they were in jail and
following their release. Aiden, a 35-year-old male parolee convicted of seriously injuring
his wife, has been interviewed by Dr. Yeung on eight occasions. The interviews have
covered a range of personal topics including Aiden’s problem drinking, which is
marked by blackouts and threatening phone calls made to his parents and girlfriend
when he becomes drunk, usually in the evening. To her knowledge, Aiden has never
followed through on these threats. It is clear that Aiden feels very comfortable discussing
his life with Dr. Yeung. One evening Dr. Yeung checks her answering machine and
finds a message from Aiden. His words are slurred and angry: “Now that you know the
truth about what I am you know that there is nothing you can do to help the evil inside
me. The bottle is my savior and I will end this with them tonight.” Each time she calls
Aiden’s home phone she gets a busy signal.
Dr. Yeung has Aiden’s address, and after 2 hours, she is considering whether or
not to contact emergency services to go to Aiden’s home or to the homes of his
parents and girlfriend.
Discussion Questions (Answer in APA format)
1. Why is this an ethical dilemma? Which APA Ethical Principles help frame the
nature of the dilemma?
2. Who are the stakeholders and how will they be affected by how Dr. Yeung
resolves this dilemma?
3. Does this situation meet the standards set by the Tarasoff decision’s “duty to
protect” statute (see Chapter 7)? How might whether or not Dr. Yeung’s state
includes researchers under such a statute influence Dr. Yeung’s ethical decision
making? How might the fact that Dr. Yeung is a research psychologist without
training or licensure in clinical practice influence the ethical decision?
4. In addressing this dilemma, should Dr. Yeung consider how her decision may
affect the completion of her research (e.g., the confidentiality concerns of
5. How are APA Ethical Standards 2.01f, 3.04, 3.06, 4.01, 4.02, 4.05, and 8.01
relevant to this case? Which other standards might apply?
6. What are Dr. Yeung’s ethical alternatives for resolving this dilemma? Which
alternative best reflects the Ethics Code aspirational principles and enforceable
standards, legal standards, and obligations to stakeholders? Can you identify
the ethical theory (discussed in Chapter 3) guiding your decision?
7. What steps should Dr. Yeung take to implement her decision and monitor