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Home > Public Resources > Trauma Blog > 2017-December > Diversity in Traumatology: Children as Research Subjects in Global Mental Health: Mapping Ethical Ch

Diversity in Traumatology: Children as Research Subjects in Global Mental Health: Mapping Ethical Challenges

December 31, 2017

Global Mental Health (GMH) is an area of study and practice that operates within international humanitarian context. GMH experience broadened the understanding of trauma and mental health (MH) in diverse cultures and demonstrated the power of human resilience. It also raised awareness of the importance of ethical regulations amid high prices for ethically questionable practices that can put at risk participants and compromise delivery of humanitarian aid. Considering that conducting research in humanitarian crisis can have unintended consequences, it must be treated as an intervention. As such, the extreme vulnerability of children calls for additional layers of protections of the participants. The review of common ethical challenges to research and data collection when children are the GMH research subjects is followed by suggestions on managing them in three strategic directions: a) careful planning and knowledge of local concerns and cultural norms; b) participatory action research to engage community in validation of research tools and minimize the impact of the power differential, and c) navigation of arising ethical dilemmas by engaging higher level of values such as humanitarian principles where safety is always a priority.

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