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Disclosing Study Information to Children and Adolescents: Is What They Want, What Their Parents Think They Want?

  • Alan R. Tait
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Alan R. Tait, PhD, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Health System, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

    Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

    Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
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  • Michael E. Geisser
    Affiliations
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

    Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
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  • Lamira Ray
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
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  • Raymond J. Hutchinson
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

    Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
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  • Terri Voepel-Lewis
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
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      Abstract

      Objective

      Despite the importance of child assent, there is little consensus on what information should be disclosed and what information is most important to children for decision-making. This study was designed to compare children's/adolescents' priorities for research information with the information parents believe is most important to their children.

      Methods

      Child-parent dyads completed separate and independent surveys regarding information (risks, benefits, etc) that they perceived to be most important to the child to make decisions about participating in a hypothetical randomized controlled trial. Parents responded in the context of what information they believed their child (not themselves) would think important.

      Results

      Fifty-five parent-child dyads completed surveys. Although all information was deemed important, children/adolescents put greater emphasis on privacy and less on knowing the purpose of the study and the benefits compared with what their parents believed was important to their child. Adolescents (13–17 years old) placed greater importance on knowing the procedures, direct benefits, and the voluntary nature of participation compared with younger children (8–12 years old). Parents of older girls in particular placed greater emphasis on their daughter's need to know the purpose of the study, the procedures, benefits, and voluntary nature, compared with parents of boys.

      Conclusions

      Results show that the information priorities of children/adolescents considering participation in a randomized controlled trial differ from that which their parents think is important to them. Pediatric researchers can use this knowledge to ensure that parents do not conflate their own expectations/priorities with those of their child and that children receive the information they need.

      Keywords

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