- Gene by environment research to prevent externalizing problem behavior: Ethical questions raised from a public healthcare perspective
- Public Health Ethics
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The main public health advantages of examining gene by environment interactions (i.e., G × E) in externalizing behavior lie in the realm of personalized interventions. Nevertheless, the incorporation of genetic data in randomized controlled trials is fraught with difficulties and raises ethical questions. This paper has been written from the perspective of developmental psychologists who, as researchers, see themselves confronted with important and in part new kinds of ethical questions arising from G × E research in social sciences. The aim is to explicate and discuss ethical questions, based on the conviction that what is ethically salient in a research setting will also be relevant in that area of public healthcare incorporating research findings. The ethical questions discussed include: whether it is ethically responsible to withhold an effective treatment; to what extent genetic results should be disclosed; whether researchers should be allowed to collect genetic data of both child and parent; and what are costs and benefits of personalized interventions based on (genetic) screening. We made an attempt to address these questions, but it is up to researchers to determine whether the solutions are suitable for their G × E research in social sciences.
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