ethical principles of the Belmont Report shaped the development
of the Federal laws and regulations governing human subjects research.
These principles, Respect for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice
are the standards on which the Common Rule is based and research
studies are evaluated.
Ethical principles guide laws and regulations that protect human subjects
Juvenile justice professionals must apply the ethical principles of Respect
for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice when youth and/or their families
are the subjects of research studies.
decisions about Human Subjects must be based on the principles
of Respect for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice.
- Respect for Persons requires
that all persons be treated with autonomy. The Belmont Report
implies that individuals must consent to participate
in research and that their privacy must be respected.
The Common Rule, however, recognizes certain conditions
under which informed consent may be waived. For example,
an informed consent waiver is applicable when consent is not practicable,
such as the case with most research utilizing secondary data.
When circumstances necessitate consent, special consideration
and protection must be given to individuals with diminished mental
capacity, allowing them the opportunity to participate in research,
but taking additional steps to ensure informed consent.
The potential research participant must first comprehend what
is involved in the study and then voluntarily agree to participate
with the understanding that there is the option to withdraw from
the research study at any time.
- Beneficence requires the researcher to “maximize possible benefits and
minimize possible harms.” It is the investigator’s
responsibility to protect subjects from harm and to make certain
the participant benefits from participation. The benefits
of research must always outweigh the potential risks.
- Justice requires fair treatment and selection of all subjects. Investigators
should not choose participants because they are convenient or
are easy to manipulate. Subject selection should not be determined
by race or gender nor should any person or group of individuals
such as prisoners, children,
or the poor be systematically selected or excluded except when
there is a valid scientific or ethical reason. Investigators have
an ethical obligation to uphold Justice by applying fair
criteria to decisions about persons who should be included or
excluded from a particular research study.