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Epidemiology and moral philosophy.
  1. C G Westrin,
  2. T Nilstun,
  3. B Smedby,
  4. B Haglund
  1. Department of Social Medicine, Uppsala University.


    To an increasing extent ethical controversies affect and sometimes obstruct public health work and epidemiological research. In order to improve communication between the concerned parties a model for identification and analysis of ethical conflicts in individual-based research has been worked out in co-operation between epidemiologists and moral philosophers. The model has two dimensions. One dimension specifies relevant ethical principles (as beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice). The other dimension specifies the groups of persons involved in the conflict under consideration (for example: the study-population, individuals who may benefit from the results, the researchers and their personnel, the community at large). The model has been applied to the problem of legitimacy of case-register research and to problems in psychiatric health services research as well as epidemiological research.

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