Vulnerabilities of Orphaned Children

Thompson, R. T., Meslin, E. M., Braitstein, P. K., Nyandiko, W. M., Ayaya, S. O., & Vreeman, R. C. (2012). The vulnerabilities of orphaned children participating in research: A critical review and factors for consideration for participation in biomedical and behavioral research. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics7(4), 56-66.

ABSTRACT: Orphans are a subpopulation with a unique set of additional vulnerabilities. Increasing focus on children’s rights, pediatric global health, and pediatric research makes it imperative to recognize and address unique vulnerabilities of orphaned children. This paper describes the unique vulnerabilities of the orphaned pediatric population and offers a structured set of factors that require consideration when including orphans in biomedical research. Pediatric orphans are particularly vulnerable due to decreased economic resources, psychosocial instability, increased risk of abuse, and delayed/decreased access to healthcare. These vulnerabilities are significant. By carefully considering each issue in a population in a culturally specific and study-specific manner, researchers can make valuable contributions to the overall health and well-being of this uniquely vulnerable population.

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