Financial compensation to adolescents for participation in biomedical research: adolescent and parent perspectives in seven studies

J Pediatr. 2005 Apr;146(4):552-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.12.024.


Objective: To examine the impact of financial compensation on pediatric asthma research participation decision-making and determine whether perceptions of fair compensation differed for parents and adolescents, lower and higher income participants, and compensation-informed and uninformed participants in minimal and above minimal risk research.

Study design: Adolescents (n = 36) with asthma and their parents reviewed 7 pediatric asthma research protocols, decided whether they would choose to participate, and provided estimates of "fair" compensation for their participation. Chi-square, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance were used to determine the affects of compensation on participation and whether various respondents differed in the perceptions of fair compensation.

Results: Financial compensation did not affect participation decisions. Estimates of fair compensation were lower for adolescents, lower income respondents, and participants who were naive about potential compensation. Fair compensation estimates were higher than actual compensation for minimal risk studies and lower for above minimal risk studies.

Conclusions: Financial compensation may be a minor consideration in pediatric research participation decision-making. Still, differences in how pediatric researchers and their prospective participants judge fair compensation create the potential for undue influence. Pediatric researchers should use caution when determining a reasonable financial compensation for research participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits