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24-02-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2016

Why Do Parents Grant or Deny Consent for Adolescent Participation in Sexuality Research?

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2016
Kristin L. Moilanen


To date, there is limited knowledge about how parents make decisions about adolescents’ participation in sexuality research. This gap was addressed in the present study, which explored parents’ reasons for providing or denying consent and their suggestions for improving the likelihood of consent. 151 parents responded through anonymous internet surveys (85.3 % mothers; 87 % European American). Those who would likely consent were largely motivated by potential benefits and limited risks of participating in the study. Those unlikely to consent expressed discomfort with sexual content, which they viewed as inappropriate for sexually-naïve adolescents. Most were somewhat more likely to consent if researchers engaged in ethical research practices (e.g., protecting confidentiality). As in other adolescent life domains, parents’ decisions strongly reflected their desire to protect their teenagers’ wellbeing, though respondents’ means of pursuing this goal varied. The discussion centers on the findings’ implications for theory development and recruitment efforts.

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