Reports of assent and permission in research with children: Illustrations and suggestions

Ethics and Behavior 5 (1):49 – 66 (1995)
Abstract
This study ascertained reports of assent (affirmative agreement) and permission (agreement by an adult fully capable of being informed) in 114 children's research articles in 1990 in Child Development (CD), Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP), Journal of Pediatric Psychology, and Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. Of the research projects, 43% failed to specify permission, and 68.5% failed to specify assent. JCCP reported assent significantly more than CD. Assent was reported significantly more in research with older children than with younger children. This lack of sensitivity to assent and permission suggests that many authors, reviewers, and editors consider reporting assent and permission unessential. We recommend specifying assent and permission in all manuscripts, highlighting children's research issues in graduate training, and using specific safeguards when conducting research with children.
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