Challenges in the ethical review of peer support interventions

Simmons, D., Bunn, C. , Nakwagala, F., Safford, M., Ayala, G., Riddell, M., Graffy, J. and Fisher, E. (2015) Challenges in the ethical review of peer support interventions. Annals of Family Medicine, 13(1), pp. 579-586. (doi: 10.1370/afm.1803)

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Purpose: Ethical review processes have become increasingly complex. We have examined how 8 collaborating diabetes peer support trials were assessed by ethics committees. Methods: The ethical reviews from the 8 peer support studies were collated and subjected to a thematic analysis. We mapped the recommendations of local IRBs and ethics committees onto the ‘4+1 ethical framework’ (autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, along with concern for their scope of application). Results: Of the 20 themes identified across the ethical reviews, only four fell within the scope of the 4+1 framework. Variation in processes and requirements for ethics committees were particularly evident between study countries. A second finding was that ethics committees did not consistently focus on tasks within the 4+1 framework: many conducted reviews of scientific, organizational, and administrative activities. Across the eight studies, ethics committees’ reviews included the required elements to ensure participant safety; however, they created a range of hur- dles that, in some, delayed the research and included consent processes that could hinder the spontaneity and/or empathy of peer support. Some of the consent processes mandated by ethical review boards, were disproportionate for peer support, increased participant burden and reduced the viability of trialling an ethical intervention. Conclusion: Ethics committees should avoid repeating the work of other trusted agencies, and consider the ethical validity of ‘light touch’ consent procedures for peer support interventions. The investigators propose an ethical framework for research on peer support.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bunn, Dr Christopher
Authors: Simmons, D., Bunn, C., Nakwagala, F., Safford, M., Ayala, G., Riddell, M., Graffy, J., and Fisher, E.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Annals of Family Medicine
Publisher:Annals of Family Medicine
ISSN (Online):1544-1717

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