Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 139  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 246-251

Knowledge & attitudes of mental health professionals regarding psychiatric research


1 Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER-Dr RML Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), Chennai, India
3 Department of Psychiatry & Department of Human Genetics, UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, USA
4 Center for Bioethics & Health Law, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Correspondence Address:
N N Mishra
GRIP-NIH Project, Room # 30, Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER-Dr RML Hospital Park Street, New Delhi 110 001
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 24718399

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Background & objectives: Mental health professionals have varied attitudes and views regarding informed consent and confidentiality protections in psychiatric research and clinical care. The present study was designed to understand the knowledge and views of mental health professionals (MHPs) regarding informed consent and confidentiality protection practices. Methods: Mental health professionals (n=121) who were members of the Delhi Psychiatric Society, were invited to participate in this questionnaire-based study of their knowledge and attitudes regarding informed consent and confidentiality. Half of them expressed willingness to discuss participation and gave initial oral consent (n=62); of these, 31 gave written informed consent to participate and completed the questionnaires. The questionnaires included both forced choice (yes / no / do not know) and open-ended questions. Questionnaires content reflected prominent guidelines on informed consent and confidentiality protection. Results: Attitudes of the majority of the participants towards informed consent and confidentiality were in line with ethical principles and guidelines. All expressed the opinion that confidentiality should generally be respected and that if confidentiality was breached, there could be mistrust of the professional by the patient/participant. The mean knowledge scores regarding informed consent and confidentiality were 8.55 ± 1.46 and 8.16 ± 1.29, respectively. Interpretation & conclusions: The participating mental health professionals appeared to have adequate knowledge of basic ethical guidelines concerning informed consent and confidentiality. Most respondents were aware of ethical issues in research. Given the small sample size and low response rate, the significance of the quantitative analysis must be regarded with modesty, and qualitative analysis of open-ended questions may be more valuable for development of future research. Increased efforts to involve mental health professionals in research on ethical concerns pertinent to their work must be made, and the actual practices of these professionals with regard to ethical guidelines need to be studied.


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