Recently, I was asked questions about the ethical obligations of psychologists who perform defense medical examinations. Are there ethical obligations? Yes, of course. There are ethical obligations for all licensed psychologists.
For ease of reference, and to offer a quick example, here is the text for Texas Administrative Code’s “Evaluation, Assessment, Testing, and Reports” statute:
(a) Scope and Purpose.(1) Licensees clearly describe the scope and purpose of evaluation, assessment, and testing to patients before they provide these psychological services.(2) Licensees produce reports that clearly state and accurately reflect the scope and purpose of evaluation, assessment, and testing.(b) Reliability and Validity.(1) Licensees verify, by signature and date, that every evaluation, assessment, test result, report, recommendation, or psychological diagnostic or evaluative statement produced is based on information and techniques sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for its findings.(2) Licensees administer, score, interpret or use assessment techniques or tests only if they are familiar with the reliability, validation and related standardization or outcome studies of, and proper applications and use of, the techniques they use.(3) Licensees who administer, score, interpret or utilize psychological assessment techniques, tests or instruments do so in a manner and for purposes for which there are professional or scientific bases.(4) Licensees do not base their assessment or intervention decisions or recommendations on data or test results that are outdated for the current purpose.(5) Licensees do not base decisions or recommendations on tests and measures that are obsolete or not useful for the current purpose.(c) Limitations.(1) Licensees include all information that provides the basis for their findings in any report in which they make findings or diagnoses about an individual.(2) Licensees identify limits to the certainty with which diagnoses, judgments, or predictions can be made about individuals.(3) Licensees identify various test factors and characteristics of the person being assessed that might affect their professional judgment or reduce the accuracy of their interpretations when interpreting assessment results, including automated interpretations.(4) Licensees include any significant reservations they have about the accuracy or limitations of their interpretations or findings in any report they produce.(5) Licensees provide opinions of the psychological characteristics of individuals only after they have conducted an examination of the individuals adequate to support their statements or conclusions. When such an examination is not practical, licensees document the efforts they made to obtain such an examination and clarify the probable impact of their limited information to the reliability and validity of their conclusions.(d) Test Security and Validity. Licensees conduct testing and maintain and release test protocols and data in a secure manner that does not compromise the validity of the test.