The concept of vulnerability is delimited by dynamic social and multigenerational processes involving at least three dimensions: exposure to risk trajectories, internal and external capabilities of reaction and possibilities of adaptation based on both the intensity of risk and the resilience of people. In order to identify and describe the synthetic indices of vulnerability, there was an integrative literature review. We consulted free access articles indexed in the following databases: BioMed, Bireme, PubMed, Reldalyc, SciELO and Web of Science; and we used controlled descriptors in English and Portuguese for all time slots available with selection and analysis of 47 studies that reported results of 23 synthetic indices of vulnerability. The results showed that the synthetic indices of vulnerability address four themes: social determinants of health; environmental and climatic conditions; family and course of life; territories and specific geographic areas. It was concluded that the definition of the components and indicators, as well as the methodologies adopted for the construction of synthetic indices need to be evaluated by means of the limitations and advantages of reporting the vulnerability through summary measures in policy formulation and decision-making aimed at human development.
Vulnerability Analysis; Risk