Informed Assent Recall Among Adolescents in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Research

Jordan P. Davis, Emily A. Lux, Douglas C. Smith, Leah Cleeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that vulnerable populations such as substance users, those involved in the criminal justice system, and those with cognitive deficits often fail to recall information regarding the informed assent process. This study investigated correlates of assent quiz errors (AQE) among adolescents enrolling in a substance use disorder treatment study. Method: Adolescents (ages 13 to 19) entering substance use treatment completed a standard informed consent procedure to participate in a longitudinal research study, followed by a brief six-item assent quiz. Results: Informed assent quiz errors were lower in this study relative to those observed in the adult literature. Being male and having lower treatment resistance was associated with making an AQE. Both days of marijuana use and days spent in the criminal justice system were associated with AQE. Hyperactivity-impulsivity approached significance (p =.057) but was not a correlate of AQE. Conclusion: Those collecting assent should be aware that heavily using males involved in the criminal justice system are prone to make more errors, and should use procedures such as assent quizzes to enhance their understanding of study procedures. Future research should investigate the impact of motivation and consider using experimental designs to test adolescent recall of study procedures under various assenting conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • adolescent
  • assent
  • capacity to consent
  • informed consent
  • research ethics
  • substance use treatment


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