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November 1977

Human Rights and Interviews

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(11):1369-1371. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770230111011

• Regulations from the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare define consent in the conduct of research involving human beings. As requirements expand, these regulations have assumed considerable importance for psychiatric research, including research interviews. The author's experience with one committee on research involving human beings provided the impetus for the present report. Subjects were drawn from a prospective study of couples in a home dialysis program. Thirty couples were systematically interviewed concerning social, personal, medical, and psychiatric history. After completion of the interview, subjects were asked a series of questions concerning their feelings about being interviewed. Although most subjects found the experience to be pleasant, nearly half believed it might upset other patients. However, none believed any long-term harm could come from the conduct of the interview itself. It is therefore concluded that the potential harm of structured interviews in severely medically ill patients and their spouses is essentially nil.

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