Adolescent decision making about participation in a hypothetical HIV vaccine trial

Vaccine. 2015 Mar 10;33(11):1331-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.01.049. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the process of adolescent decision-making about participation in an HIV vaccine clinical trial, comparing it to adult models of informed consent with attention to developmental differences.

Methods: As part of a larger study of preventive misconception in adolescent HIV vaccine trials, we interviewed 33 male and female 16-19-year-olds who have sex with men. Participants underwent a simulated HIV vaccine trial consent process, and then completed a semistructured interview about their decision making process when deciding whether or not to enroll in and HIV vaccine trial. An ethnographic content analysis approach was utilized.

Results: Twelve concepts related to adolescents' decision-making about participation in an HIV vaccine trial were identified and mapped onto Appelbaum and Grisso's four components of decision making capacity including understanding of vaccines and how they work, the purpose of the study, trial procedures, and perceived trial risks and benefits, an appreciation of their own situation, the discussion and weighing of risks and benefits, discussing the need to consult with others about participation, motivations for participation, and their choice to participate.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that most adolescents at high risk for HIV demonstrate the key abilities needed to make meaningful decisions about HIV vaccine clinical trial participation.

Keywords: Adolescent; Decision making; HIV vaccine trial; Qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Patient Participation*
  • Research Subjects
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • AIDS Vaccines