[The informed consent in the mature minor: Understanding and decision-making capacity]

[The informed consent in the mature minor: Understanding and decision-making capacity]
R Boceta, O Martínez-Casares, M Albert
Anales de Pediatria, 29 November 2020
The informed consent of the minor is a fundamental requirement of paediatric research. There is a lack of harmonisation as regards the age of the mature minor to consent, and there are no systematic tools available to assess competence in decision-making capacity. The objective of this work is to analyse the ethical and legal situation of consent by minors, as well as studies that use an objective assessment tool in the mature minor.
Material and methods
Systematic review of scientific articles in PubMed, Embase and the Grey Literature, published with keywords “informed consent minors”, without date restriction until March 2019. Abstracts and a selection of complete articles were reviewed following a protocol including identification, screening, eligibility, and inclusion.
Of the 260 records identified, 139 were excluded. After categorising the resulting 121 publications, 13 were finally selected following the eligibility criteria, including 7 articles on international ethical and legal regulations and 6 on understanding and decision- making capacity assessment. The MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research (MacCAT-CR) semi-structured interview was used in 4 studies, including different age ranges (6-21 years) in healthy and sick children.
The semi-structured MacArthur interview adapted to adolescents could be an appropriate tool with robust psychometric measures for assessing competence for the informed consent of minors between 9 and 12 years of age. The regulation of informed consent in paediatric research should consider this evidence.

Editor’s note: This is a Spanish Language Publication.

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