Examining the Personal -- Professional Distinction Ethics Codes and the Difficulty of Drawing a Boundary

by Randolph B Pipes, Jaymee E Holstein, Maria G Aguirre
American Psychologist ()


The Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association (APA) applies to the professional role behaviors of members and not to their personal behavior. This article discusses some of the difficulties inherent in drawing distinctions between the personal and the professional. Consideration is given to the importance of clarifying public statements. Four ethics codes other than the APA Ethics Code are examined for how they treat the personal-professional distinction. A number of questions are posed to assist in determining the tilt a behavior takes. A concluding recommendation suggests that APA Ethical Standards be applied only to professional role behaviors, whereas aspirational principles might be applied to personal behavior. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of American Psychologist is the property of American Psychological Association and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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