Empowering psychologists to evaluate revisions to the APA ethics code

Samuel Knapp, Michael C. Gottlieb, Mitchell M. Handelsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors argue that individual psychologists have an obligation to understand, review, and comment on upcoming revisions of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Psychologists may want to consider several factors as they review and prepare comments on these revisions. Among other things, commenting psychologists should consider (a) the purposes of ethics codes and how the writing of a code can meet or balance these often-conflicting purposes; (b) the overarching ethical theory or theories that should form the basis of the APA Ethics Code; and (c) the extent to which individual standards are useful and comprehensive, and avoid unnecessary harm to both the public and psychologists. The authors provide examples from the current and recent APA Ethics Codes to illustrate the types of decisions that psychologists must make when evaluating revisions to the APA Ethics Code.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalEthics and Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics
  • aspirational ethics
  • ethics code

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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