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Dealing with Ethical Concerns in Suicide Research: A Survey of Australian Researchers

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Given the increasing trend in suicide mortality and its burden on individuals, families and communities, ethically sound research is crucial to improve the prevention of suicidal behaviour. However, few studies have looked at the experiences of researchers in obtaining ethics approval for their studies. This study addressed this gap by investigating researchers' experiences in obtaining ethics approval and how they dealt with the concerns raised by ethics committees. Respondents were recruited from September to November 2018 through the Australian Suicide Prevention Research Leaders Network, and 33 respondents (35%) completed the study survey, comprising forced-choice and open-ended questions. Respondents most commonly reported concerns from ethics committees regarding potential harm to participants and researchers' responsibilities to participants within the context of intervention and evaluation studies. Most researchers modified their ethics application and/or consulted with their ethics committee to reply to the concerns raised. Most respondents perceived the impact of the modification as positive or neutral. The study concludes that researchers may anticipate potential concerns of ethics committees. Improved understanding of how ethics committees work and dialogue between researchers and ethics committees should sustain the quality in suicide-related research.
Issue: 7
Volume: 16
Number of pages: 12
Publication year:2019