Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear: A primary prevention model for ethical decision making

Jaime D. Crowley, Michael C. Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Practitioners may find themselves caught in ethical dilemmas and confused about how they missed the early warning signs that led to them. In an attempt to reduce the stress of navigating complex dilemmas, numerous ethical decision-making and risk-management models have oversimplified our moral reasoning processes and ignored underlying influences that shape our ethical actions. Constructed from an existing proactive coping framework (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997), we propose a Primary Risk-Management Model (PRMM) that addresses the limitations of current ethical decision-making paradigms by highlighting some of the factors that shape a practitioner's moral judgments. The PRMM describes the processes involved in anticipating a potential ethical dilemma with individual differences and emotional arousal moderating each of five stages. The five stages of the PRMM are: a) Resource Accumulation, b) Attention and Detection of Potential Risk, c) Initial Appraisal of Potential Risk, d) Preliminary Risk-Management Efforts, and e) Elicitation and Use of Feedback. By promoting self-reflection within each stage, the PRMM may improve the risk-management and coping skills that practitioners require in order to effectively confront complex ethical dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Ethical decision making
  • Ethics
  • Practitioner factors
  • Primary prevention
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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