Involving children and adolescents in medical decision making: developmental and clinical considerations

J Pediatr Psychol. 1996 Aug;21(4):505-16. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/21.4.505.


Outlined the issues in informed consent, as well as goals for involving children and adolescents in decisions regarding their own medical treatment. This paper reviews the developmental and clinical considerations, and provides recommendations, for determining particular children's level of involvement. Finally, there are distinct roles for pediatric psychologists in this process, which are described. As medical treatment becomes increasingly sophisticated, there is an obligation for pediatric psychologists to appreciate the ethical and clinical issues in medical decision making for families.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Mental Competency / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Participation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child / methods*