Enhancing nursing research with children and families using a developmental science perspective.
Nursing scholarship on children and their families has increased rapidly over the past decades. This research focuses on infants, children, and adolescents and their families facing acute or chronic illness, as well as on promoting health and preventing disease in children. While the amount and scope of research in pediatric nursing has increased, the methods and theories used are diverse and are often not based on the most recent science in the broader fields of developmental research. Developmental science, which evolved over the past two decades into a new interdisciplinary framework for the study of human development, involves an integrated holistic, developmental, and systems-oriented perspective. According to this view, the individual functions and develops through dynamic and complex processes involving the integration of many systems within the individual, including mental, biological, and behavioral systems. In addition, individuals function and develop in a continuously ongoing, reciprocal process of interaction with their environment and, as such, have an influence on that environment. These nonlinear, dynamic processes demand complex conceptualizations and research designs if one is to truly understand human development, including health and illness. Key aspects of developmental science important in conceptualization, design, measurement, and data analysis are identified. By providing a framework for critiquing research and presenting recommendations for future research based on developmental science, we hope to move nursing research with children forward toward more developmentally sound knowledge of nursing practice.
Miles, MS; Holditch-Davis, D
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