The elusive goal of informed consent by adolescents


Abstract
While parents have traditionally provided proxy consent for minors to participate in research, this has proven inadequate for adolescents who are mentally and emotionally capable of making their own decisions. Research has proven that even young children, and certainly most adolescents, are developmentally prepared to make such decisions for themselves. The author challenges the assumption that both consent and assent are static concepts, and proposes that a sliding scale of competence be created to ascertain the adolescent's comprehension of the proposed research by shifting the burden of proof to those who believe a particular adolescent is unable to provide informed consent.
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