Research Involving Adolescents as Subjectsa

Ethical Considerations


  • Robert J. Levine

    1. Donaghue Initiative in Biomedical and Behavioral Research Ethics, and Law, Policy and Ethics Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, and Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
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    Portions of this work have been adapted or abridged from my previous work, particularly that cited in Reference 2.

Address for correspondence: Robert J. Levine, M.D. Courier address: Yale Center for Bioethics, 89 Trumbull Street, New Haven, CT 06511. U.S. mail address: Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, P.O. Box 208209, New Haven, CT 06520-8209. Voice: +1-203-432-8807; fax: +1-203-432-5036.


Research involving adolescents as subjects is much more difficult to carry out than it ought to be. The excessive burdens in the field are borne by those who design and carry out the research, and also by those who review and monitor such research to ensure compliance with regulations and other policies designed to protect the rights and welfare of research subjects. This chapter is an overview of issues that are specific to research that involves adolescents. Problems and challenges are reviewed, and potential solutions suggested. The chapter also provides suggestions for improving current regulatory policies and practices so as to reduce bureaucratic impediments.