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Adolescent perspectives about their participation in alcohol intervention research in emergency care: A qualitative exploration using ethical principles as an analytical framework

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ellen Lynch, Dr Ruth McGovernORCiD, Dr Matthew Breckons, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019 Lynch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Aims To explore adolescents’ experiences of consenting to, and participating in, alcohol intervention trials when attending for emergency care. Methods In-depth semi-structured interviews with 27 adolescents (16 males; aged 14–17 years (Mage = 15.7)) who had taken part in one of two linked brief alcohol intervention trials based in 10 accident and emergency departments in England. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subject to thematic analysis. Results Research and intervention methods were generally found to be acceptable though confidentiality was important and parental presence could hinder truthful disclosures regarding alcohol use. Participants discussed the importance of being involved in research that was relevant to them and recognised alcohol consumption as a normative part of adolescence, highlighting the importance of having access to appropriate health information. Beyond this, they recognised the benefits and risks of trial participation for themselves and others with the majority showing a degree of altruism in considering longer term implications for others as well as themselves. Conclusions Alcohol screening and intervention in emergency care is both acceptable and relevant to adolescents but acceptability is reliant on confidentiality being assured and may be inhibited by parental presence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lynch E, McGovern R, Elzerbi C, Breckons M, Deluca P, Drummond C, Alam MF, Boniface S, Coulton S, Gilvarry E, McArdle P, Patton R, Russell I, Strang J, Kaner E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2019

Volume: 14

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 12/06/2019

Acceptance date: 19/05/2019

Date deposited: 24/06/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217855


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