By David Lee on October 27, 2009 · tagged as , , ,

Addressing Potential Trauma When Conducting Research

In order to better understand sexual violence, intimate partner violence and dating violence, researchers will be in contact with survivors.  By bringing up the subject of violence against women, the researchers may prompt emotional reactions. In a new article in the Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, the authors describe how they developed distress protocols.

In the past as a practitioner I had been wary of researchers who did not appear to understand the potential traumatic nature of discussing these difficult issues.  When I talked with the authors last week about their research I appreciated their attentiveness to the needs of survivors in their work conducting qualitative research talking to people about teen dating violence.

I believe we must conduct more research talking directly to people to understand how we can prevent violence against women.

The full citation and abstract is after the jump.

“Developing Distress Protocols for Research on Sensitive Topics”

Claire Burke Draucker, Donna S. Martsolf, Candice Poole, Archives of Psychiatric Nursing Volume 23, Issue 5, Pages 343-350 (October 2009)

Click here for a link to the article on the journal’s web site.

Two protocols that were developed to address risks related to emotional distress in an ongoing, qualitative, community-based study of adolescent dating violence are presented. The first protocol is for use in telephone screening to identify individuals at high risk of adverse emotional reactions. The second protocol guides interviewer’s responses to emotional distress expressed by participants during in-depth research interviews. The study is briefly described, and the process used to develop the protocols is discussed. The process of developing the protocols caused the authors to reconsider some previously held assumptions about human subject protections in research on sensitive topics.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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