How overstated scientific claims undermine ethical principles in parenting interventions
Scheidecker, Gabriel; Oppong, Seth; Chaudry, Nandita; Keller, Heidi – 2021
While parenting interventions are flourishing in low/middle-income countries (LMICs), their ethical challenges have rarely been considered. We therefore applaud Weber and colleagues1 for their contribution to a recent debate about the ethics of parenting interventions. To apply the principles of beneficence, autonomy and justice to such interventions is certainly valuable, especially if ‘respect for autonomy’ includes consideration of additional ethical principles the targeted communities uphold. We also agree that ‘recognising and integrating existing beliefs, practices, people, context and skills’in the programme design is crucial to fulfil the three principles. Finally, we agree most emphatically that there are considerable biases in the underlying research as it tends to ‘only measure constructs that are valued from a western perspective’. However, it is our contention that the authors fail to apply these insights to the science on which they build their arguments. To fully acknowledge biases in the knowledge base of early childhood development (ECD), we argue, is a fundamental requirement to meet the principles they propose.