The antitrust, discrimination, and malpractice implications of specialization

Daniel A. Krauss, James R. Ratner, Bruce D. Sales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In response to pressure from applied psychologists for the creation of speciality certification boards, professional organizations (e.g., the American Psychological Association and the American Boards of Professional Psychology) have considered and developed specialization and specialty recognition rules. This process may raise potentially serious professional and legal ramifications. Consequently, this article evaluates significant antitrust, discrimination, and malpractice ramifications connected with specialization and specialty recognition within the field of professional psychology. The issues raised in the antitrust and discrimination sections of the article affect the very creation of specialty boards, whereas the issue raised in the malpractice section may strongly affect the individual practitioner who becomes board certified. The overarching purpose of this article is to assess and explain the legal implications raised, to predict, where possible, the legal treatment of particular specialization-related behavior, and to warn about possible legal pitfalls and liabilities. Our goal is to arm specialization activity with foresight, so that this inevitable activity can be formulated responsibly by practitioners, specialty organizations, and patient/consumers, in a direction useful both for psychology and society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-33
Number of pages19
JournalApplied and Preventive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Antitrust
  • Discrimination
  • Law
  • Malpractice
  • Specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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