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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2008 Jan;17(1):127-48, x.

Ethical issues in psychiatric research on children and adolescents.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Psychiatric research on children and adolescents is ethically justified by the need to reduce the burden that mental illnesses place on young people, their families, and society. Such research must be conducted with careful attention to the ethical principles of beneficence, justice, and respect for persons. Child and adolescent psychiatrists who collaborate on research trials or advise patients and families about research participation should consider nine domains when evaluating the ethical acceptability of particular protocols. These domains include scientific merit and design; expertise, commitment, and integrity; risks and benefits; confidentiality; participant selection and recruitment; informed consent and decisional capacity; incentives; institution and peer/professional review; and data presentation. Special ethical issues in child and adolescent psychiatry research concern the use of randomized, controlled treatment trials; the informed consent process for research involving adolescents; the therapeutic misconception; and conflicts of interest in physician referrals.

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