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Vulnerability and autonomy in the search with adolescents deprived of freedom

The planning of research with adolescents deprived of freedom should consider bioethical and ethical choices aiming at dealing with the vulnerability of these cases. The biggest challenge is the fact that they seek to ensure the exercise of autonomy and willingness. In this paper we present and discuss the ethical and bioethical choices made in the planning of research involving adolescents deprived of freedom, as well as the special procedures adopted to guarantee the autonomy and the willingness of the participants. Previous workshops were held with the aim at dealing with the issues of autonomy and willingness to all institutionalized adolescents who could participate of the research. Thus, the objective was that the adolescents became more empowered and could use the exercise of autonomy as a protective ability. We came to the conclusion that the experience of conducting the workshops was very enriching for both adolescents and for researchers, and also that the workshops were successful, for a successful planning resulted from it. The adolescents started their participation in the workshops with a passive and uncritical attitude, and ended with a more participatory attitude, seeking to discuss and answer the questions. It was suggested that these issues should be considered in studies with this population.

Bioethics; Vulnerable Populations; Adolescent Psychology; Adolescent Institutionalized


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