Assessing Adolescent Decision-Making Competence

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Behavioral decision research offers a general approach to studying cognitive aspects of decision making, as well as a platform for studying their interplay with social and affective processes. Applied to any decision, behavioral decision research involves three interrelated tasks: (a) normative analysis, identifying the expected impacts of possible choices; (b) descriptive study, characterizing how individuals view the decision, in terms comparable to the normative analysis; and (c) prescriptive interventions, helping people to bridge critical gaps in their understanding. Applied to adolescents’ decisions, behavioral decision research provides analytical and empirical procedures for clarifying the challenges that young people face and their success in addressing them. It recognizes that competence varies by individual and by decision, leading to domain-specific policies and interventions, affording teens as much autonomy as they can manage




Developmental Review Volume 28, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 12-28