In the film Miss Evers' Boys, several of the now-existing APA guidelines are violated to the extreme
. The movie, which illustrates the Tuskegee Study conducted by a group of southern doctors in 1932, tells the story of a group of African-American men who are being unknowingly studied to see if untreated syphilis reacts the same way in African-Americans that it does in white men. At first, treatment is given to them but once the funds for the study are cut and treatment is no longer made available for 14,000 men, the study goes on without them knowing they have stopped receiving medicine. Miss Evers is told that once the government realizes they have continued the study, they will likely re-obtain funds within a year but the study goes on for ten additional years without treatment. The affected men are simply given placebos and then observed. They are also given spinal taps (which are referred to as "back shots" so the men will think they are part of the treatment.) Even though penicillin becomes available, they are refused administration of such because of a rumor that it could kill them and the fact that the doctors do not want the results of the study being tampered with. Most of the men die, and some go crazy; very few are left alive at the end of a ten-year period. The end result is that yes, untreated syphilis affects both African-Americans and whites alike.
Today, the APA has many guidelines which would prevent The Tuskegee Study or anything like it from ever taking place again. In chapter 8 of the APA Ethics Code, 8.07 deals with deception in research, which is mainly what made the Tuskegee Study so unethical.
Part A states that "Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study's significant prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective nondeceptive alternative procedures are not feasible." The doctors conducting the Tuskegee...
References: American Psychological Association, (2002). APA Ethics Code 2002 (pp.11-13)
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