(Taken from Mitchell, Furlong, Lafontana, Jolley, Lovelace & Lovelace (2006). Research, Design and Analysis in Psychology I. Wadsworth; New York, NY.)
Ethical Thought: It all comes down to reliability.
After many years of research, Dr. came up with a treatment for eating disorders. She tried this treatment out on some of her patients that had been diagnosed with an eating disorder. The treatment seemed to be successful with those patients. She continued to use this treatment with her patients with great success. The treatment consisted of Dr. modifying and monitoring what patients ate at an eating disorders treatment center. She was so enthusiastic about the treatment that she decided to market it so other therapists could use it also with their patients.
For $50 (next to nothing compared to the cost of other techniques in therapy), she sent the inquiring therapist a script of everything she said and did to the patient during the treatment. A lot of therapists purchased the treatment, because they were very impressed with the success rate that Dr. reported. However, after many months she started to receive emails and phone calls from pother therapists accusing her falsifying data because the treatment was not at all successful with their patients.
1. Why do you think Dr. had so much success with the treatment of her patients, yet other therapists did not? How would reliability analysis have helped this problem?
2. For the sake of ethics alone should Dr. have conducted reliability analyses before marketing the treatment?
3. Dr. never gave out any false information regarding the treatment or her development of the treatment should she then be obligated to give a refund to those therapists who are saying that the treatment did not work for them? Why or why not?
Why do you think Dr. had so much success with the treatment of her patients, yet other therapists did not?
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