Contemporary and Ethical Issues in Psychology Research on Intimate Partner Violence and the Duty to Protect

An ethical dilemma can be defined in various ways, which include a situation where the agent must make a decision that is viewed as the best course of action (Stuart, 2005). The other type of dilemma is one that gives the agent different options to choose from (Stuart, 2005). The third is one that will compromise the ethical principle no matter the course of action taken (Stuart, 2005). The ethical principles that form this dilemma are the course of action that a compromise of the moral law will be broken no matter the course of work because of the situation that Aiden has put the doctor in and she cannot be able to do much save for contacting emergency services.

The stakeholders in this dilemma are Aiden and his entire family because of the message that has been left on her answering machine. This could quickly turn into a case of the boy cried wolf, and no chances should be taken. This situation meets the criteria because Aiden is a different person once he is drunk, and despite not following his threats according to the girlfriend, there might be other triggers around Aiden. This could be an emergency, and she has to take the course of action that is best suitable, and including other researchers could prove too late (Roberts, 2008). Dr. Yeung’s absence of a license and other documentation could be unfortunate because she lacks the necessary training that could have best fitted her for this situation. 

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These ethical code of conduct are instrumental in this case and they should be able to inform Dr. Yeung on the best course of action. She should also try to employ code 4.06 in order to properly get a second opinion from another professional instead of resulting into action immediately (Stuart, 2005). The best alternative is to try and engage her colleagues to better resolve this issue and to include ethical code 4.07 which allows her to use confidential information which would allow her to use this information from a legal point of view (Roberts, 2008). 

The major issue is that there could be lives at stake and it could lead to loss of life. It is good to remember that Aiden had been in jail for seriously injuring his wife and therefore he could still exhibit these behaviours due to the fact that he is still consuming alcohol. The alcoholism theory of psychology best fits this situation because it will enable her to predict the actions of Aiden and what he is likely to do to his family (Stuart, 2005). 

This could significantly affect her research depending on the course of action she decides to take eventually. They can be used as guidelines to acknowledge which step to take to avoid slow decision making by the professional (Roberts, 2008). Dr. Yeung could decide that she will call a much more qualified practitioner than herself. Dr. Yeung should begin a training program that would enable her to be in a better position to avoid this type of dilemma in the future.


Roberts, J., L. Wolfer, and M. Mele. (2008) “Why Victims of Intimate Partner Violence Withdraw Protection Orders.” Journal of Family Violence 23(5): 369-375Stuart, G. (2005) “Improving Violence Intervention Outcomes Integrating Alcohol Treatment.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 20(4): 388-393.

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