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BMJ. May 26, 1990; 300(6736): 1372–1375.
PMCID: PMC1662959

Sociodemographic and motivational characteristics of parents who volunteer their children for clinical research: a controlled study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE--To determine the sociodemographic and motivational characteristics of parents who volunteer their children for clinical research. DESIGN--A questionnaire was administered to parents who volunteered their children for a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial of a drug to treat asthma and to a control group of parents whose children were eligible for the trial but had refused the invitation. SETTING--A children's hospital in Australia. SUBJECTS--68 Parents who had volunteered their children and 42 who had not; a response rate of 94% and 70%, respectively. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Responses of parents to questionnaire designed to assess their perceptions, attitudes, and health seeking behaviour as well as sociodemographic data. RESULTS--Volunteering parents were less well educated with only 15% (10/68) of mothers and 16% (11/68) and of fathers having had a tertiary or university education compared with 26% (11/42) of mothers and 45% (19/42) in the non-volunteering group. Fewer volunteering parents had professional or administrative jobs than did non-volunteering parents (mothers 6% (4/68); fathers 9% (6/68) v mothers 14% (6/42); fathers 31% (13/42)). Volunteering parents had less social support, and they displayed greater health seeking behaviour and consumed more habit forming substances. They were motivated by a desire to help others and to contribute to medical research, but they were also searching for more information and better ways to help their own children. CONCLUSION--Parents who volunteer their children for medical research are significantly more socially disadvantaged and emotionally vulnerable.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • LASAGNA L, VON FELSINGER JM. The volunteer subject in research. Science. 1954 Sep 3;120(3114):359–361. [PubMed]
  • Janofsky J, Starfield B. Assessment of risk in research on children. J Pediatr. 1981 May;98(5):842–846. [PubMed]
  • Robinson RJ. Ethics committees and research in children. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 May 16;294(6582):1243–1244. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • SCHUBERT DS. AROUSAL SEEKING AS A MOTIVATION FOR VOLUNTEERING: MMPI SCORES AND CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM-STIMULANT USE AS SUGGESTIVE OF A TRAIT. J Proj Tech Pers Assess. 1964 Sep;28:337–340. [PubMed]

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