An Urban Bioethics Approach to Parental Informed Consent for Pediatric Clinical Research [DISSERTATION]

An Urban Bioethics Approach to Parental Informed Consent for Pediatric Clinical Research [DISSERTATION]
Flanagan, Ellen
Temple University, December 2018

In the current healthcare landscape, parents generally make decisions regarding whether or not their children are allowed to take part in clinical research, with the general assumption being that parents know what is best for children. Investigations have been conducted regarding what is likely to lead parents to consent or not consent to their child’s participation in a trial, but research plans seldom incorporate the consideration that not all parents come into the consent process with equal social, academic, and economic footing. Since the burden of the ultimate decision lies primarily on the parents, it is supremely important that they are capable of making a well-informed and thoughtful choice. Bioethical understanding of the influence of parental decisions in clinical research must consider demographic variables and how they may affect parents’ decisions to allow or disallow their child to participate in a clinical trial. Those differences could affect the consent process and have ramifications for the research findings, as research results are affected in numerous ways by which children do, and do not, participate in studies. This paper looks specifically at parents in the process of informed consent for pediatric research, taking into account several social determinants of health and how they affect who participates in research and how that affects research as a whole.

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