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Afkinich, J. L., & Blachman-Demner, D. R. (2020). Providing Incentives to Youth Participants in Research: A Literature Review. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 15(3), 202–215. https://doi.org/10.1177/1556264619892707


The provision of financial incentives to youth involved in research remains an understudied and contentious issue. Although the practice is common and often accepted, a comprehensive understanding of the current status of the literature regarding the potential benefits and limitations is lacking. The primary question this article seeks to answer is as follows: “What are the concerns and best practices identified in the literature for the appropriate and ethical provision of incentives to children and adolescents?” Following a thorough review and screening process, 25 articles were selected and central themes were identified within them. Themes include the following: the wage-payment model, effectiveness for recruitment, effectiveness for retention, financial versus alternative incentives, coerciveness, influence on validity of results, and other ethical dilemmas. Gaps in the literature are discussed. Overall, the literature suggests financial incentives can be provided appropriately to children as long as necessary precautions are taken.