Ethical considerations for involving Latina adolescents in mental health research.
US Latina adolescents experience significant mental health disparities, such as depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation and, therefore, should be involved in research studies focused on minimizing these health disparities. However, researchers must consider the specific ways this population is vulnerable and provide adequate protections to reduce risks related to these vulnerabilities.
The purpose of this article is to describe the different ways that Latina adolescents with mental health problems can be vulnerable research participants, identify strategies to protect this population during a research study, and describe steps taken to apply these strategies in an ongoing qualitative study examining depression in Latina adolescents.
Kipnis's (2003) article describes seven ways that children can be vulnerable research participants. These seven vulnerabilities are used to describe the vulnerabilities of Latina adolescents with mental health problems. Specific strategies to protect this population are synthesized to provide a list of strategies that can be used by researchers to reduce the risks associated with the vulnerabilities of this group.
In order to minimize risks for Latina adolescents, researchers must be engaged in Latino/a communities, use culturally and linguistically appropriate consent processes, and implement strategies to protect the confidentiality of Latina adolescent participants.
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