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Screening for Understanding of Research in the Inpatient Psychiatry Setting

Norval J. Hickman, Judith J. Prochaska and Laura B. Dunn
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal
Vol. 6, No. 3 (September 2011), pp. 65-72
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/jer.2011.6.3.65
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Page Count: 8
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Screening for Understanding of Research in the Inpatient Psychiatry Setting
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People with mental illness constitute a substantial proportion of smokers and an important population for smoking cessation research. Obtaining informed consent in this population is a critical ethical endeavor. We examined performance on a three-item instrument (3Q) designed to screen for understanding of several key elements of research: study purpose, risks, and benefits. Patients were clinically diagnosed with primary unipolar depression (n = 40), a primary psychotic disorder (n = 32), both mood and psychotic disorders (n = 17), and primary bipolar disorder (n = 14). Among an ethnically diverse sample of 124 psychiatric inpatients approached for a smoking cessation trial, 107 (86%) performed adequately on the 3Q (i.e., obtained a score of at least 3 out of a possible 6). Patients were better able to identify the study risks and benefits than to describe the study purpose. The 3Q appears to be a useful tool for researchers working with vulnerable psychiatric patients.

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