The Release of Psychological Data to Nonexperts: Ethical and Legal Considerations

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Abstract

Psychologists are often requested to provide “raw” psychological data (scores, test stimuli, client or patient responses) to nonexperts, especially in personal injury litigation cases in which there may be a court order or subpoena for such information. The new Ethical Principles of the American Psychological Association prohibit the release of raw test results and data to unqualified persons; hence, requests from judges and attorneys frequently place the psychologist in a conflict in which legal and ethical considerations point in opposite directions. In this article, ethical and legal issues regarding this conflict are discussed, particularly the manner in which the new APA Ethical Principles speak to the salient considerations. A course of action is recommended for sharing raw data whereby the psychologist can conform to the spirit of legal considerations while remaining in compliance with the Ethical Principles.

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