New Adolescent Health Research Guidelines Outline Legal and Ethical Issues

Starting in 1993, John Santelli, MD, MPH, of the Society for Adolescent Medicine in Blue Springs, Mo., oversaw the creation of Guidelines for Adolescent Health Research.

Prior to this project, no national guidelines for adolescent health research existed and research on adolescent health was becoming increasingly difficult to conduct.

The emergence of HIV among adolescent populations, the persistence of teenage pregnancy and other problems—and the paucity of effective programs to deal with them—illustrated the need for adolescent health research.

The project director commissioned papers from national experts in adolescent health, bioethics and the law; created draft guidelines; and submitted these to a consensus conference for review and revision.

Key Results

  • The Journal of Adolescent Health published the resulting "Guidelines for Adolescent Health Research" in a special November 1995 issue.

    • The guidelines recognize that adolescents represent a unique population, capable of considerable decision-making, desirous of increasing autonomy, and having health issues distinct from younger children.
  • All chairpersons of Multiple Project Assurance Institutional Review Boards in the United States received a special mailing of the issue of the Journal.