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Vulnerable Groups

Vulnerable groups involve human samples considered particularly susceptible to coercion or undue influence in a research setting. A vulnerable group includes persons who may be incapable of understanding what it means to participate in research and/or who may not understand what constitutes informed consent. Individuals considered vulnerable may, for various reasons, have a diminished capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and/or recover from the impact of a natural or man-made hazard. Vulnerable groups may also consist of individuals who are unable to care for themselves and/or may have an increased chance of suicide, self-harm, or the likelihood of harming others.

Researchers’ assignment of vulnerable group status is both dynamic and relative, because the nature of those groupings is culturally dependent and those labeled as vulnerable are ...

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