Many adolescent patients with chronic medical conditions do not manage their illnesses very closely and often put themselves at risk for serious health complications. Setting aside cases of nonadherence that are due to practical difficulties involving the implementation of a management plan, a deeply problematic question remains. How should health care providers respond to adolescent patients who express a conscious and value-driven decision to pursue other goals and interests that are incompatible with their doctors' recommended directives? Using two guiding ethical principles, the "relevant difference principle" and the "principle of noninterference," as well as available empirical data on adolescent decision making and risk perception, the paper concludes that most adolescents ages 14 and older should be allowed to make self-determining decisions regarding the management of their chronic medical conditions.


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pp. 147-163
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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