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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 379756, 12 pages
Research Article

Adolescents' Perceptions of Their Consent to Psychiatric Mental Health Treatment

1Capstone College of Nursing, The University of AL, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0358, USA
2Health Care Environments Division, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 528 Carrington Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460, USA

Received 13 May 2011; Revised 24 October 2011; Accepted 18 November 2011

Academic Editor: Patrick Callaghan

Copyright © 2012 Anthony James Roberson and Diane K. Kjervik. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a small-scale study in which the decision-making process of adolescents who consent to psychiatric mental health treatment was examined. Sixteen (16) adolescents were interviewed about their decisions related to initial and continued treatment, along with their understanding of minor consent laws. Interviews were audio-recorded, and transcripts were analyzed through concept analysis. Findings are presented in the context of the decision-making steps and research questions. Most adolescents did not recognize consequences related to psychiatric mental health treatment and did not assimilate and integrate information provided to them about treatment choices. Adolescents disagreed with current minor consent laws that allow minors to consent to certain healthcare treatments without the required consent of the parent. Further, adolescents reported that a collaborative approach in making decisions about the adolescent’s psychiatric mental health treatment was most facilitative of achieving the goals of treatment.