Balancing risks and benefits of deception in assessing genetic screening utilization

Dennis L. Thombs, Colleen A. Mahoney, R. Scott Olds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To advocate that research using intentional deception is sometimes appropriate. Methods: A deception paradigm created to assess utilization of genetic screening for alcoholism susceptibility is reviewed in the context of competing ethical obligations and objections to the procedure. Conclusions: The paradigm is ethically defensible, it generates useful knowledge about future utilization of alcoholism screening by college students, and it exposes participants to no more than minimal risk. The use of deception to address questions related to predictive genetic screening will require investigators to balance protection of participants with the need to advance knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001


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