Clinical Research Glossary

assent assent


Willingness to take part in a research study by someone who is not able to give legal consent.

Example of assent in a sentence

Some studies ask children, or people who have a guardian, to decide whether they agree to participate in research by giving their assent.

More Info

Assent can apply both to children and to adults who can’t give legal informed consent. For example, an adult with severe dementia may no longer be able give consent but could be asked to assent

Confirming the assent of children and adults who are unable to give legal consent treats them with respect, even if not legally necessary.

Failing to object to being in a study is not considered assent. Assent can apply to children and adults who can’t give legal informed consent. For example, in the case of an adult with dementia.

To leave a study, a participant may take back their assent, or the legal guardian or authorized decision maker may take back their consent.

Other info to think about when joining a study

The word “assent” may come up if minors are joining a study. When applicable, the parent or guardian may be signing to give consent, but the young person should be given the opportunity to assent to become a participant. The study team may also say that even if the guardian provides consent, the young person joining the study will need to give their assent before enrolling.

A minor who is enrolling in a study should feel free to ask as many questions about the research as necessary to feel comfortable becoming a participant.

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