What is it about?

Institutional Review Boards that oversee human studies must decide whether research protocols exceed the risks associated with day to day activities. To do that, however, they need to know what the actual risks of day to day activities entail. This study measured the psychological risks associated with blood draws, flu shots, exercise classes, and clinic visits.

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Why is it important?

Cataloging the risks of day to day activities allows Institutional Review Boards, researchers, and potential research participants to judge how risky a research protocol is in comparison. This will allow researchers to make better safety plans and potential participants to make more informed decisions about taking part in studies.


I hope that more researchers will start using the SAM or a similar instrument to measure (and publish) the psychological risks of their research. Currently, Institutional Review Boards have to make their best guesses when deciding if research protocols meet or exceed minimal risk. If we standardize how we measure risk, Institutional Review Boards will have a better chance of making evidence-based decisions.

Dr. Maureen Murdoch
Minneapolis VA Health Care System

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Psychological Risk of Minimal Risk Activities: A Pre- and Posttest Study Using the Self-Assessment Manikin, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, November 2018, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1556264618810302.
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