American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principle of Integrity

American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principle of Integrity

Student’s Name:





American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principle of Integrity

The American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct consist of general principles that guide psychologists towards the highest psychology ideals (“Revision of Ethical Standard 3.04 of the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” (2002, as amended 2010).”, 2016). The principles guide psychologists in applying ethical standards in various roles. One of these principles is integrity. The principle of integrity allows psychologists to promote accuracy, truthfulness, and honesty in psychology in general (Behnke, 2006). Integrity is an individual trait that enables psychologists to be upright in their character. Integrity guides psychologists not to engage in activities that involve fraud, acts of cheating, and intentional misinterpretation of facts. The paper aims to elaborate on various aspects of the principle of integrity.

As a guide to psychologists, the purpose of integrity is to enable them to behave ethically in their roles. Psychologists need to own up to their mistakes in case of any misconduct and take responsibility. First of all, integrity allows psychologists to find means of promoting the accuracy of facts. For example, psychologists take reasonable steps in ensuring that their reports are accurate. They ensure that the research conducted and their findings are valid. Psychologists also ensure the identity of service providers are accurately provided. When it comes to teaching, psychologists take reasonable steps in ensuring the information provided in the course syllabi is accurate. Accuracy of facts and information provided as part of the subject matter enables students to fulfil course requirements. Integrity is also essential because it allows psychologists to provide accurate information concerning their research proposals according to the approved research protocol.

Integrity promotes truthfulness among psychologists. In research, psychologists are discouraged from conducting research that involves deception. They are also expected no to deceive any prospective participant taking part in their research. Duplication of data is also avoided by psychologists who are keen to follow the general principle of integrity (Pope, Tabachnick, & Keith-Spiegel, 1987). They avoid publishing any data that has been published as their original data. It is considered an offense and can lead to severe consequences.

Honesty is another important aspect of the principle of integrity. Psychologists do not engage in any form of a false or deceptive statement (“Revision of Ethical Standard 3.04 of the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” (2002, as amended 2010).”, 2016). Fabricating data goes against the principle of integrity and the American Psychological Association’s ethical codes of conduct as a whole. Integrity also plays an essential role in enabling psychologists to avoid plagiarism at all costs. Psychologists are discouraged from presenting work that is not their own as their original work. Dr Leso is one of the prominent American psychologists who violated the principle of integrity. Following post 9/11 “war on terror,” Dr Leso violated recommended specific harsh measures to army officers to squeeze out information from detainees (Eidelson, 2015). The techniques were employed during interrogations and involved extreme torture. The account took place in 2007, at Guantanamo Bay.

However, some psychologists may find themselves in situations where they behave unethically and show no integrity signs. In such a case, the psychologist violates the rule of conduct described by the American Psychological Association Ethics Code. An ethical dilemma arises when two values found in the ethical principles are in a conflict situation. In one scenario, a psychologist may disclose confidential information to another party over the individual’s safety that might be affected directly by disclosing such information. Here the psychologist chooses safety over confidentiality. Another psychologist would respond ethically in the same dilemma by weighing both values and keeping both in mind before deciding. As much as the situation proves to be challenging, the most ethical psychologist would wait for the dilemma to unfold before deciding to affect the other party. In 1896, Dr William Playfair was involved in a case associated with confidentiality. Linda Kitson consulted Playfair. Linda stated that she had become pregnant while they were not on good terms with her husband (McLaren, 1993). The doctor ended up leaking the information to one of the Kitson’s relatives. Kitson sued the doctor, and she was compensated for the damages.


Behnke, S. (2006). APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: An ethics code for all psychologists…?.Eidelson, R. J. (2015). “No cause for action”: Revisiting the ethics case of Dr. John Leso.

McLaren, A. (1993). Privileged communications: medical confidentiality in late Victorian Britain. Medical history, 37(2), 129-147.

Pope, K. S., Tabachnick, B. G., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (1987). Ethics of practice: The beliefs and behaviors of psychologists as therapists. American Psychologist, 42(11), 993.

Revision of Ethical Standard 3.04 of the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” (2002, as amended 2010). (2016), 71(9), 900-900.