Demographic, Psychosocial and Behavioral Differences in Samples of Actively and Passively Consented Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Community Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Requiring active consent from parents leads to different self-reports by adolescents than when it is not required. The present study compares self-reported demographic, psychosocial, and behavior variables between those students from whom active consent was and was not obtained. As found in previous studies, fewer minorities, fewer persons who were dissatisfied with school, fewer persons whose parents were of lower educational levels, and fewer cigarette smokers were represented in the sample recruited by active parental consent. Extending on previous work, we found those students whose parents failed to respond to the consent procedure were less likely to live with both parents, were more likely to be latch-key children, placed a lower priority on health, and were higher in risk-taking, lower in self-esteem, and lower in assertiveness than those whose parents had responded. These data further support the suggestion that those children who are omitted from a research study because of lack of action on the part of the parent are at higher risk for a number of health and social problems. These children need to be included in evaluation samples in order to accurately assess the effectiveness of prevention programming. Future studies should employ a passive consent procedure as a means of recruiting a representative subject pool in school-based prevention research.

Rights Information

© 1993 Elsevier Ltd.