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Parents' attitudes regarding adolescent confidentiality: When should therapists break confidentiality and report risk-taking behavior?

10 December 2004


Therapists are often faced with the challenge of trying to decide when to break confidentiality if clients pose a serious risk to themselves or others. This decision becomes even more complicated when the client is an adolescent. Although little is known about therapists' attitudes regarding reporting risk-taking behaviors, even less is known about parents' attitudes towards confidentiality. The present study examined responses from 84 parents regarding their attitudes towards confidentiality across six different domains of risk-taking behavior. Parents generally found it more ethical for a therapist to break confidentiality when the intensity, frequency, and duration of risk-taking behavior increased. Patents also rated the importance of other considerations that should be involved in a therapist's decision to break adolescent confidentiality.


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