Ethical Issue Analysis

Write a 6–8-page assessment of an ethical issue in a case study and construct an ethical analysis based on the application of ethical principles.

Note: The assessments in this course build upon each other, so you are strongly encouraged to complete them in sequence.

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As a psychology professional, you will encounter ethical dilemmas at times in your work. Dealing with controversial and ambiguous real-life situations within the framework of a complex society provokes challenges. Familiarity with the APA principles, use of critical thinking, consulting with others, and ongoing gains in professional experience enhance our ability as professionals to effectively apply ethical standards in practice. In this assessment, you will apply this understanding to a case study problem.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 2: Communicate effectively with diverse recipients in a manner consistent with expectations for psychology professionals.
Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Apply proper APA formatting and style.
Competency 4: Evaluate decisions or actions based on cultural competence and ethical principles.
Analyze how the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct relating to a particular ethical issue.
Support a chosen course of action based on ethical principles.
Competency 5: Solve problems in the field of psychology through critical and scientific analysis and innovative thinking.
Analyze alternatives for resolving an ethical dilemma.
American Psychological Association. (2013). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major (Version 2.0). Retrieved from

Dealing with controversial and ambiguous real-life situations within our complex society will create challenges. You are sure to encounter ethical dilemmas in your professional life.

The American Psychological Association (APA) outlines ethical principles and standards for psychology professionals. The intent of these ethical principles and standards is to guide and inspire psychologists toward the very highest ethical knowledge and behavior in the profession. As you reflect upon the ethical dilemma in the case study you choose for this assessment, you will review the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to learn about the principles.

As you develop an understanding of ethics in psychology, you will also sharpen your critical thinking skills. From an understanding of how to evaluate the ideas of others, you will develop a foundation for how to consider multiple perspectives on an issue and formulate an opinion based on the evaluation of their reasoning. Psychology professionals frequently collaborate with one another as part of the critical thinking process to gain information and perspective when examining human problems and searching for solutions. The APA (2013) identifies teamwork and collaboration as an important goal for undergraduate psychology majors.

American Psychological Association. (2013). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major (Version 2.0). Retrieved from

As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.

Why are ethics important for professionals?
What specific values, skills, and knowledge might you need to be ethical in your planned professional role?
What are the main theoretical positions in regard to ethics? Which do you think are the most valuable? Why?
What ethical dilemmas might arise in your specialization?
How can ethical codes and standards help?
What are the strengths and limitations of ethical codes and standards?
What are the differences between ethical reasoning models and ethical decision-making models? How can each help you in your profession?
What are your current strengths (specific characteristics, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors) that contribute to your ethics?
What areas do you need to develop?

APA Resources
Because this is a psychology course, you must format this assessment according to APA guidelines. Additional resources about APA can be found in the Research Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom. Use the resources to guide your work as needed.

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.
APA Paper Template [DOCX].

Ethical Decision-Making
Moffett, L. A., Becker, C. J., & Patton, R. G. (2014). Fostering the ethical sensitivity of beginning clinicians. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 8(4), 229–235.
Schwartz, M. (2016). Ethical decision-making theory: An integrated approach [PDF]. Journal of Business Ethics, 139(4), 755–776.
Ethics and Multicultural Contexts
These resources provide examples of current research related to the application of ethical principles to larger societal problems. Use the Capella University Library or Google Scholar to find scholarly articles relevant to the case study you chose.

Gluchmanová, M. (2015). Globalisation of aggression at schools: Ethical and moral issues. Human Affairs,25(4), 390–398.
Seegobin, W., Canning, S., & Bufford, R. K. (2016). Ethics and multicultural contexts: Understandings and applications. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 35(4), 296–309.
Sengsavang, S., & Krettenauer, T. (2015). Children’s moral self-concept: The role of aggression and parent–child relationships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 61(2), 213–235.
Ethics and Psychotherapy
Adejumo, A. (2016). Ethical challenges in logotherapy practice. Ife Psychologia, 24(2), 298–306.
Sanders, R. K. (2016). Ethics and values in psychotherapy: Introduction to special issue. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 35(4), 291–295.
APA Ethical Principles
American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (with 2017 amendment). Retrieved from
To gain an understanding of the principles that guide psychologists, you may review the following principles:
Principle E: Respect for people’s rights and dignity.
Principle D: Justice.
Principle C: Integrity.
Principle B: Fidelity and responsibility.
Principle A: Beneficence and nonmaleficence.
Assessment Instructions
Note: The assessments in this course build upon each other, so you are strongly encouraged to complete them in sequence.

In this assessment, you will choose a case study and analyze an ethical dilemma within it, based on the application of ethical principles. Think of this ethical analysis as a report you would make in a professional context. In Assessment 2, you will report on the cultural aspects of the same case. In Assessment 3, you will apply related psychological theories, research, principles, and standards to develop an action plan to resolve the case. In Assessment 4, you will record a presentation to communicate your research and plan.

Read the four case studies in the Case Studies media.
Choose one that you will work within Assessments 1–4.
Write a 6–8-page report in which you complete the following:

-Create a title page: Write a title that reflects the purpose of your work. It is suggested that you use the APA Paper Template, linked in the Resources under the APA Resources heading, to format your paper according to the APA manual (current edition).

-Write an introduction: For the introduction section of your paper, include the title at the top of the first page. (In APA format, the word Introduction is not used as a heading.) Briefly summarize:
The ethical issue in the case you have chosen.

-How professional standards and other resources, in general terms, point toward solutions.
How the issue, in general, relates to larger societal problems.

-Create a heading titled Applied Ethical Principles and Standards: Use the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to assess which of them relate to the particular ethical issue in this case, and analyze how they do so.

-Create a heading titled Alternative Solutions:
Brainstorm several alternatives for resolving the ethical dilemma in the case. Thoroughly analyze the possible ramifications for at least three alternatives. Then, choose a course of action.
Explain your chosen course of action and support it based on both ethical principles and current psychological research (within the past decade).

-Create a heading titled Conclusion: Briefly summarize the importance of the problem and make a compelling appeal for implementation of your action plan.

Keep in mind that while your writing must conform to APA standards, you must explain all information in a manner that can be easily understood by a non-academic or nonscientific audience.

Refer to the Ethical Issue Analysis Scoring Guide to ensure that you meet the grading criteria for this assessment.

Additional Requirements
Your assessment should meet the following requirements:

Written communication: Written communication is well organized and free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA style: Comply with current APA style and formatting.
Number of resources: A minimum of three academic resources.
Length: 6–8 typed, double-spaced pages, excluding the cover page and references.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

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