Information and informed consent in a longitudinal screening involving children: a questionnaire survey

Eur J Hum Genet. 2005 Mar;13(3):376-83. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201336.


This empirical study explores participants' perceptions of information and understanding of their children's and their own involvement in a longitudinal screening, the ABIS Study. ABIS (All Babies In Southeast Sweden) is a multicentre, longitudinal research screening for Type 1 diabetes and multifactorial diseases involving 17 005 children and their families. For this study, a random selection of mothers was made, using perinatal questionnaire serial numbers from the ABIS study. In total, 293 of these mothers completed an anonymous questionnaire (response rate 73.3%). Our findings from the questionnaire indicate a marked difference between the reported satisfaction with and understanding of the information provided on the one hand and the significant lack of knowledge of some of the aims and methods of the ABIS screening on the other, namely concerning high-risk identification of involved children, potential prevention and future questionnaires. Two questions evoked by our results are: (1) what information is required for participants in longitudinal studies involving children? and (2) how do we ensure and sustain understanding, and thus in a prolonging, informed consent in these studies? This study underlines the importance of an increased understanding of the ethical issues that longitudinal research on children raise and the need to discuss how information and informed consent strategies should be analysed and designed in longitudinal studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Informed Consent*
  • Longitudinal Studies*
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Recall
  • Mothers*
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic / ethics
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden