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Prospective studies: looking for correlations.

Review of:

Blair, R, McFarlane, J. Nava, A., Gilroy, H., & Maddoux, J. (2015). Child witness to domestic abuse: Baseline data analysis for a seven-year prospective study. Pediatric Nursing, 47(1), 23-29.

This study design is necessary when looking for long-term outcomes and variables that are likely to change over time. The investigation of changes in children who had seen domestic abuse by Blair, McFarlane, Nava, Gilroy, and Maddox (2015) in this issue is an example of this type of research. This research was part of a larger study that collected data over seven years. The topic they wanted to investigate or the main study variable was what effect abuse--either heard or witnessed--had on male and female children. In a prospective study, the researcher identifies the problem and assumes the cause is known (Polit & Beck, 2014).

It is always important when selecting a group of people for a study that it is representative of the group the researchers are interested in and sufficiently diverse. Otherwise, no generalizations can be made about the findings. The sample size is very important as well. And the type and number of instruments (in this case questionnaires) to be used and the length of time required to complete them are also factors to consider.

Blair et al. (2015) wanted to measure the effects of hearing and witnessing abuse, so they selected participants who were women, had been abused, and who had children. Equal numbers in the groups from both women's shelters and from those seeking legal protection were recruited. Only 10.7% of the participants were White, with larger percentages of Hispanic and Black women participating. This would make generalizing to other groups difficult but may be representative of the population of women seeking protection from abusers in shelters or in court.

The authors do not provide a rationale for the sampling method used for the children of various ages. Randomization is one control for selection bias, and they used it to collect data related to the children's behavior. One common problem in conducting research is to maintain the participant's interest in the study and willingness to provide information. By not requiring the participants to complete two lengthy questionnaires, they probably retained more women.

This study resulted in additional information about the behavior of this group of children that may be helpful to counselors and health care professionals seeking to help them. Recognizing that particular attention needs to be paid to the child who has heard or seen domestic abuse is important. The evidence from the Blair et al. (2015) study also supports the need for interventions for the children when abuse has occurred in their home.

References

Blair, R, McFarlane, J. Nava, A., Gilroy, H., & Maddoux, J. (2015). Child witness to domestic abuse: Baseline data analysis for a seven-year prospective study. Pediatric Nursing, -47(1), 23-29

Polit, D., & Beck, C. (201 A). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising the evidence for nursing practice. Saratoga Springs, FL: Lippincott.

Jean Ivey, PhD, CRNP, PNP-BC, FAANP, is Associate Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Nursing, Birmingham, AL, and a member of the Pediatric Nursing Editorial Board.

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Title Annotation:Demystifying Research
Author:Ivey, Jean
Publication:Pediatric Nursing
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:519
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