International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)
Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists
by the Assembly of the International Union of Psychological Science in
by the Board of Directors of the International Association of Applied
PDF VERSION of Universal Declaration
Ethics is at the core of every discipline. The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists speaks to the common moral framework that guides and inspires psychologists worldwide toward the highest ethical ideals in their professional and scientific work. Psychologists recognize that they carry out their activities within a larger social context. They recognize that the lives and identities of human beings both individually and collectively are connected across generations, and that there is a reciprocal relationship between human beings and their natural and social environments. Psychologists are committed to placing the welfare of society and its members above the self-interest of the discipline and its members. They recognize that adherence to ethical principles in the context of their work contributes to a stable society that enhances the quality of life for all human beings.
objectives of the Universal Declaration are to provide a moral
framework and generic set of ethical principles for psychology
organizations worldwide: (a) to evaluate the ethical and moral
relevance of their codes of ethics; (b) to use as a template to guide
the development or evolution of their codes of ethics; (c) to
encourage global thinking about ethics, while also encouraging action
that is sensitive and responsive to local needs and values; and
(d) to speak with a
collective voice on matters of ethical concern.
The Universal Declaration describes those ethical principles that are based on shared human values. It reaffirms the commitment of the psychology community to help build a better world where peace, freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, and morality prevail. The description of each principle is followed by the presentation of a list of values that are related to the principle. These lists of values highlight ethical concepts that are valuable for promoting each ethical principle.
The Universal Declaration articulates principles and related values that are general and aspirational rather than specific and prescriptive. Application of the principles and values to the development of specific standards of conduct will vary across cultures, and must occur locally or regionally in order to ensure their relevance to local or regional cultures, customs, beliefs, and laws.
The significance of the Universal Declaration depends on its recognition and promotion by psychology organizations at national, regional and international levels. Every psychology organization is encouraged to keep this Declaration in mind and, through teaching, education, and other measures to promote respect for, and observance of, the Declaration’s principles and related values in the various activities of its members.
for the Dignity of Persons and Peoples
for the dignity of persons is the most fundamental and universally
found ethical principle across geographical and cultural boundaries,
and across professional disciplines. It provides the philosophical
foundation for many of the other ethical principles put forward by
professions. Respect for dignity recognizes the inherent worth of all
human beings, regardless of perceived or real differences in social
status, ethnic origin, gender, capacities, or other such
characteristics. This inherent worth means that all human beings are
worthy of equal moral consideration.
human beings, as well as being individuals, are interdependent social
beings that are born into, live in, and are a part of the history and
ongoing evolution of their peoples. The different cultures,
ethnicities, religions, histories, social structures and other such
characteristics of peoples are integral to the identity of their
members and give meaning to their lives. The continuity of peoples and
cultures over time connects the peoples of today with the peoples of
past generations and the need to nurture future generations. As such,
respect for the dignity of persons includes moral consideration of and
respect for the dignity of peoples.
for the dignity of persons and peoples is expressed in different ways
in different communities and cultures. It is important to acknowledge
and respect such differences. On the other hand, it also is important
that all communities and cultures adhere to moral values that respect
and protect their members both as individual persons and as collective
psychologists accept as fundamental the Principle of Respect for the
Dignity of Persons and Peoples. In so doing, they accept the following
Caring for the Well-Being of Persons and Peoples
caring for the well-being of persons and peoples involves working for
their benefit and, above all, doing no harm. It includes maximizing
benefits, minimizing potential harm, and offsetting or correcting
harm. Competent caring
requires the application of knowledge and skills that are appropriate
for the nature of a situation as well as the social and cultural
context. It also requires the ability to establish interpersonal
relationships that enhance potential benefits and reduce potential
harm. Another requirement is adequate self-knowledge of how one's
values, experiences, culture, and social context might influence one's
actions and interpretations.
psychologists accept as fundamental the Principle of Competent Caring
for the Well-Being of Persons and Peoples. In so doing, they accept
the following related values:
openness and disclosure of information must be balanced with other
ethical considerations, including the need to protect the safety or
confidentiality of persons and peoples, and the need to respect
differences exist regarding appropriate professional boundaries,
multiple relationships, and conflicts of interest. However, regardless
of such differences, monitoring and management are needed to ensure
that self-interest does not interfere with acting in the best
interests of persons and peoples.
psychologists accept as fundamental the Principle of Integrity. In so
doing, they accept the following related values:
and Scientific Responsibilities to Society
Psychology functions as a discipline within the context
of human society. As a science and a profession, it has
responsibilities to society. These responsibilities include
contributing to the knowledge
Psychology functions as a discipline within the context of human society. As a science and a profession, it has responsibilities to society. These responsibilities include contributing to the knowledgeabout human behavior and to persons’ understanding of themselves and others, and using such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, families, groups, communities, and society. They also include conducting its affairs within society in accordance with the highest ethical standards, and encouraging the development of social structures and policies that benefit all persons and peoples.
Differences exist in the way these responsibilities are interpreted by psychologists in different cultures. However, they need to be considered in a way that is culturally appropriate and consistent with the ethical principles and related values of this Declaration.
THEREFORE, psychologists accept as fundamental the Principle of Professional and Scientific Responsibilities to Society. In so doing, they accept the following related values: