Assessing clinical trial informed consent comprehension in non-cognitively-impaired adults: a systematic review of instruments
This systematic review identifies and critically evaluates instruments that have been developed to measure clinical trial informed consent comprehension in non-cognitively-impaired adults. Literature searches were carried out on Medline (Ovid), PsycInfo, CINHAL, ERIC, ScienceDirect, and Cochrane Library for English language articles published between January 1980 and September 2008. Instruments were excluded if they focused on consent onto paediatric trials, the construct under study was primarily capacity or competency, or the instrument was developed specifically for psychiatric or cognitively-impaired populations. Instruments selected for review were evaluated against the following criteria: (1) method of item generation; (2) type and format of test items; (3) administration and interpretation of test results; and (4) psychometric properties. Three instruments met our defined inclusion criteria: the Deaconess Informed Consent Comprehension Test (DICCT), the Quality of Informed Consent (QuIC) questionnaire and the Brief Informed Consent Protocol (BICEP). Each instrument varied in terms of content measured. Significantly, these are the first standardized instruments developed to assess comprehension in non-cognitively-impaired adults. Yet, each instrument had its own set of limitations such as the lack of generalizability and the absence of details pertaining to how test results should be used to guide clinical decision-making. Standardized clinical trial informed consent comprehension assessments have been developed to identify gaps in research participants' understanding and ensure that respect for patient autonomy is satisfied.
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