Ethical Theories

This section provides general ethics resources relevant to the practice of child and adolescent psychiatry.

  • Dell ML & Kinlaw K. Theory Can Be Relevant: An Overview of Bioethics for the Practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2008; 17,1,1-19
    This review provides an overview of basic ethical concepts, some of the theoretical approaches and various strategies to understand and manage ethical issues. The history of ethics relevant to medicine is detailed as well as that applicable to psychiatric, pediatric and child and adolescent psychiatric populations. The moral, virtue, caring and casuistry approaches to ethical thinking and analyses are reviewed. The four topics model of ethics analysis (medical indications, patient preferences, quality of life, and contextual features) is described accompanied by a representative clinical example.
  • Lamps & Sondheimer, Symposium 3, Contemporary Ethical Issues in CAP, AACAP Annual Meeting, 2009 (Link coming soon.)
  • Fassler D. Ethical Issues in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1992; 31:3, 392
    This article briefly introduces and discusses the importance of ethical principles for the practice of child and adolescent psychiatry with a review of basic strategies to incorporate the consideration of ethical issues during clinical care.
  • O'Rourke K, Snider BW, Thomas JM, Berland DI. Knowing and Practicing Ethics Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1992; 31:3, 393-397
    The authors discuss the interaction between ethics and child and adolescent psychiatry practice and identify several key principles. Several case vignettes are used for illustration.
  • Sondheimer A, Jensen P. Ethics and child and adolescent psychiatry. In: Bloch S, Green SA, editors. Psychiatric Ethics. London: Oxford Publishing; 2010. p. 385-407.
    This chapter in a book on psychiatric ethics summarizes the ethical principles and issues relevant to child and adolescent psychiatry. After providing some historical background, the authors emphasize the professional responsibilities of practitioners when working with children to prioritize their best interests and the challenges due to the children?s developmental immaturity. The authors then discuss the influences of context such as culture, societal norms, available resources and personal values. The principles of not harming, providing benefit, patient autonomy, assent, consent, confidentiality, conflict of interest, advocacy and social justice issues. Ethical concerns related to assessment, diagnosis, treatment and research are reviewed. Multiple clinical examples are used to present and illustrate these principles and their application to practice.