Addressing therapeutic boundaries in social networking

Almari Ginory, Laura Mayol Sabatier, Spencer Eth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Facebook is the leading social networking website, with over 500 million users. Prior studies have shown an increasing number of housestaff accessing the site. While Facebook can be used to foster camaraderie, it can also create difficulties in the doctor-patient relationship, especially when boundaries are crossed. This study explored the prevalence of such boundary crossings and offers recommendations for training. An anonymous voluntary survey regarding Facebook use was distributed to current psychiatry residents through the American Psychiatric Association (APA) listserv. Of the 182 respondents, 95.7% had current Facebook profiles, and 9.7% had received friend requests from patients. In addition, 18.7% admitted to viewing patient profiles on Facebook. There is a substantial utilization of Facebook among psychiatric residents as compared with prior studies. Specific guidance regarding social media websites and the potential for ethical difficulties should be offered to trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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