Original Article

Journal of Family Violence

, 22:277

First online:

Role of Culture and Context: Ethical Issues in Research with Asian Americans and Immigrants in Intimate Violence

  • Alice G. YickAffiliated withSchool of Human Services, Capella University Email author 

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Ethical principles are often presented as universal, immutable rules. However, when conducting research with ethnic minority groups, such as Asian Americans and immigrants, ethical issues need to be placed within a sociocultural context as ethical responses are filtered through the specific value orientations and belief systems of the ethnic group under study. Further, when the group is a marginalized population, power dynamics complicate ethical principles of autonomy. The complexities are further accentuated with sensitive topics such as intimate violence or domestic violence. Consequently, ethical questions about autonomy, informed consent, confidentiality, limits to confidentiality, and protecting participants’ safety and reducing distress need to be at the forefront when planning intimate violence research. An overview of sociocultural context of Western biomedical ethics is presented and specific ethical issues that emerge when conducting intimate violence are discussed.


Asian Americans Asian immigrants Ethics Research Intimate violence Domestic violence Culture