Screening for understanding of research in the inpatient psychiatry setting
Hickman, N.J.; Prochaska, J.J.; Dunn, L.B.
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics Jerhre 6(3): 65-72
ISSN/ISBN: 1556-2654 PMID: 21931239 DOI: 10.1525/jer.2011.6.3.65
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.