Breaking confidentiality to report adolescent risk-taking behavior by school psychologists

Ethics and Behavior 19 (6):449 – 460 (2009)
School psychologists often break confidentiality if confronted with risky adolescent behavior. Members of the National Association of School Psychologists ( N = 78) responded to a survey containing a vignette describing an adolescent engaging in risky behaviors and rated the degree to which it is ethical to break confidentiality for behaviors of varying frequency, intensity, and duration. Respondents generally found it ethical to break confidentiality when risky adolescent behaviors became more dangerous or potentially harmful, although there was considerable variability between respondents. Significant gender effects were found between male and female respondents for alcohol use, and a significant Form Type (i.e., male or female vignette) Frequency/Duration interaction was observed for antisocial behaviors. School psychologists could benefit from further training in ethical decision making because these ethical dilemmas are not always clear-cut
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