Matching Items (4)

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Identifying the Forensic Psychologist Role

Description

Since its debut over a century ago, forensic psychology has matured into a formally recognized specialty area of psychology with its own set of ethical guidelines; however, a consensual definition

Since its debut over a century ago, forensic psychology has matured into a formally recognized specialty area of psychology with its own set of ethical guidelines; however, a consensual definition of forensic psychology remains elusive. After describing the field’s historical and current struggles to define itself, two ethical issues are discussed that are especially applicable to psychology in legal contexts. The first is the critical differences between serving in therapeutic versus forensic roles and the associated ethical obligation to refrain from serving in both roles in the same case. Despite the terminology used in the literature, treatment in forensic contexts can be ethically appropriate. This chapter considers the current state of the literature regarding treatment in forensic contexts and suggests that this is likely to be an area of future growth for the field. The second ethical issue discussed in this chapter is the insidious effect of the adversarial process on psychologists’ objectivity in forensic contexts, termed “forensic identification” or “adversarial allegiance.” The forensic ethical guidelines affirm the primacy of this issue in forensic contexts, as evidenced by addressing it in the first two published guidelines. However, field and experimental evidence suggest psychologists have a challenging (if not impossible) task in avoiding partiality in adversarial forensic contexts. The chapter ends by briefly considering the methods psychologist might use in an effort to reduce partiality and by recognizing more research is needed to identify what else psychologists can do to strive to uphold the ethical guidelines in this regard.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Refusing and Withdrawing From Forensic Evaluations

Description

Aside from an article by Gutheil, Bursztajn, Hilliard, and Brodsky (2004), scant literature exists regarding why forensic mental health professionals refuse or withdraw from cases. The current study collected descriptive

Aside from an article by Gutheil, Bursztajn, Hilliard, and Brodsky (2004), scant literature exists regarding why forensic mental health professionals refuse or withdraw from cases. The current study collected descriptive information about the reasons mental health experts decline or withdraw from forensic assessments, both early and late in the legal process. In response to an online survey, 29 practicing forensic psychologists and psychiatrists presented examples of case withdrawal from their professional experiences. Their major reasons included ethical issues or conflicts, payment difficulties, and interpersonal or procedural problems with retaining counsel or evaluees. The results indicate that there are compelling personal and professional reasons that prompt forensic mental health experts to withdraw from or turn down cases.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Occupational Socialization’s Role in Forensic Psychologists’ Objectivity

Description

This report integrated quantitative and qualitative methods across two studies to compile descriptive information about forensic psychologists’ occupational socialization processes. We also explored the relation between occupational socialization and forensic

This report integrated quantitative and qualitative methods across two studies to compile descriptive information about forensic psychologists’ occupational socialization processes. We also explored the relation between occupational socialization and forensic psychologists’ objectivity. After interviewing 20 board-certified forensic psychologists, we surveyed 334 forensic psychologists about their socialization into the field. Results indicated that the occupational socialization processes of forensic psychologists, including socialization about objectivity, varied widely across time and situation as the field has developed. Moreover, three hypotheses regarding occupational socialization were supported. It was positively and significantly associated with years of experience, t(284) = 3.63, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 0.05 – 0.16; belief in one’s ability to be objective, t(296) = 9.90, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 0.69 – 1.03; and endorsement of the usefulness of various bias correction strategies, r = 0.38 (p < .001, one-tailed). The implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Experts Screening Experts: Are Courts Effectively Gatekeeping Psychological Assessment Evidence?

Description

The United States Supreme Court’s 1993 Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals case established criteria for admitting scientific evidence in federal courts. It holds that scientific evidence must be valid, reliable,

The United States Supreme Court’s 1993 Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals case established criteria for admitting scientific evidence in federal courts. It holds that scientific evidence must be valid, reliable, and relevant, and judges are required to be “gatekeepers” of evidence by screening out evidence that has not been empirically tested or vetted through the academic community. Yet, little is known about whether psychological assessment tools are subjected to scrutiny through the standards courts are supposed to apply. In three different studies, from the perspectives of judges, attorneys, and forensic mental health experts, the authors investigate whether psychological assessment evidence is being challenged. Information was collected on participants’ experiences with challenges to psychological assessments. Judges and lawyers completed a series of experimental case vignettes to assess their decision-making about legal admissibility of different qualities of psychological assessments. It was hypothesized they would not distinguish between low- and high-quality psychological assessments in admissibility. Bayesian model selection methods did not support the null hypothesis, however. It was found attorneys differentiate between the conditions. The rates in which legal professionals and forensic mental health evaluators experienced challenges were also higher than was expected. These positive findings show there is some degree of gatekeeping psychological assessment evidence in the courts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020