Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Norman A. Scott


There have been multiple studies of how monetary compensation affects perceived willingness to participate in medical research. However few studies have addressed perception of risk, especially risk to privacy associated with genetic or behavioral genetic investigations. One recent study, an M.S. thesis investigation by Ascheman (2009), identified several difficulties in studying undergraduate perceptions of risk from participation in such investigations: low levels of comprehension of informed consent documents, and difficulties in separating participants' perceptions of risk to privacy from the potential influences of money offered for participation. This study expands the work of Ascheman (2009) by using a vignette story format for presentation of the experimenter-constructed informed consents. It also included a baseline privacy risk without compensation condition in a 2 (level of privacy risk) X 2 (level of compensation) mixed within-between subjects design. The study was conducted as an online investigation with undergraduate research volunteers. The presented levels of risk had a significant effect on participants' willingness to participate and perception of risk at all presented levels of risk and compensation. However, no significant risk-by compensation interactions were found. Moreover, the compensation offered (ten versus one hundred dollars) in the vignettes did not have a significant differential effect on either willingness to participate or perception of risk at any of the presented levels of risk. Additionally, monetary compensation did not demonstrate a main effect on either of these measures with the exception of a willingness to participate variable that asked how participants believed others would react to the presented vignettes. Compared with prior studies, the use of a short vignette in a story-format informed consent, substantially increased comprehension of the essential experimenter constructed informed consent information about risk to privacy and monetary compensation. Comprehension checks demonstrated between 62.4% and 84.2% accurate comprehension of essential risk or money information from the experimenter constructed informed consents at various levels of risk and money.


Copyright Owner

Zachary Robert Batchelder



File Format


File Size

120 pages