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Sanctions for ethics violations: does licensure of socioeconomic status matter?

by K A Richards, C D Noblin
Ethics & Behavior ()
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Although sexual relationships between therapists and their clients are unethical, such beahviors still occur. This study investigated whether psychologists with applied versus nonapplied training differed in the severity of sanctions advocated for psychologists charged with sexual ethical violations toward high- or low-socioeconomic status victims. Licensed and Nonlicensed psychologists (N=48) viewed a 15-min videotape simulating the adjudication process about an alleged sexual involvement between client and psychologist, then prescribed either: Dismissal of Charges, Educative Advisory, Educative Warning, Reprimand, Censure, Stipulated Resignation, Permitted Resignation, or Expulsion. The alleged victim was described as a college professor of home economics or a hairdresser. Licensed psychologists chose more severe sanctions ("Stipulated or Permitted Resignation") than did Nonlicensed psychologists ("Censure"). Socioeconomic status made no significant difference in sanctions. Apparently, applied therapy training results in more severe judgements toward those who violate American Psychological Association ethical guidelines than other types of psychology training.

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