Dr. Judy Brewster, long interested in the effects of exposure to maladaptive environments on development, designed a study to examine resilience. Jewish youth were assessed at six-month intervals for a period of four years. Psychological tests were being conducted in school through group-administered written surveys and individual interviews of approximately one to two hours in length. The amount and frequency of exposure to community violence will be measured, as well as short- and long-term psychological (anxiety, depression, perception of social support), behavioral (academic achievement, risk engagement) and adaptational (psychological and behavioral coping) responses. Aside from assessment interviews, participants will have no contact with the researcher.
Ms. Rosen, the principal of a private Jewish school, has agreed to allow her school to participate in the study. She is eager to assist her students and suggests that Judy begin at once. When Judy asks for advice on how to approach parents for their permission, the principal says that it is not necessary, as the school supports the study.
Approximately two years into her study, Judy notices two distinct patterns of adaptation. Some of the children exhibit signs of distress, anxiety and depression, and report that they have begun to engage in multiple risk behaviors such as substance use, delinquency, violence and sexual promiscuity. Other children show no signs of distress, or have outgrown and discontinued such behaviors. Judy is concerned about the acting-out youth, but she notes that many children have engaged in such behaviors and later discontinued engagement. Judy is not clinically trained; she is not competent to diagnose or treat distressed participants. She is, however, competent to teach students adaptive skills such as anger management and conflict resolution, which have been shown to have limited success in altering behavior.
1a. Identify the key developmental issues experienced by the adolescents in this longitudinal study.
1b. Identify and explain the ethical issues related to this research study that was conducted.
1c. In retrospect, discuss and explain how you might have modified this study to protect the rights and welfare of research participants and the parents.