On the limits of parental proxy consent: Children's right to non-participation in non-therapeutic research [Book Review]

Journal of Academic Ethics 1 (4):349-383 (2003)
This paper considers what are the appropriate limits of parental or guardian proxy consent for a child's participation in medical or social science research. Such proxy consent, it is proposed, is invalid in regards “non-therapeutic research.” The latter research may add to scientific knowledge and/or benefit others, but any benefit to the child research participant is but a coincidental theoretical possibility and not a primary objective. Research involving children, without intended and acceptable prospect of beneficial outcome to the individual participant, even if with negligible risk, does not meet the test for “best interests.” Proxy consent for children's involvement in research is justifiable only when given for and on behalf of the child in his or her best interest to enhance the child's well-being. Only in the latter case is the parental proxy consent situation analogous in regards key criteria to a competent individual consenting to research participation.
Keywords children's rights  Convention on the Rights of the Child  ethics in research  non-therapeutic research  proxy parental consent
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DOI 10.1023/B:JAET.0000025606.40005.bc
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