A systematic review of community-based participatory research interventions in pediatric and adolescent populations

Tracy M Voegtle, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative approach to research actively involving community members in all aspects of the research process. CBPR is not a new research method, but an approach that has gained increased attention in the field of public health over the last several years. Recognition of the inequalities in health status associated with social and environmental factors have led to calls for a renewed focus on ecological approaches to research. Ecological approaches acknowledge that the health of the community is dependent on an interaction between behavioral and environmental factors affecting the entire population. While many published studies document the benefits of CBPR in difficult-to-reach populations and describe successful implementation of this approach in adult populations, relatively few studies have been conducted in child and adolescent populations. Given that children and adolescents are particularly sensitive to the effects of their physical environments and may also be distrustful of outsiders, ecological approaches involving the community as partners, such as CBPR, may be especially useful in this population. Objective. This thesis reviews published studies using a community-based participatory research approach in children and adolescents to assess the appropriateness of this approach in this population. Method. Studies using CBPR in youth populations were identified using Medline and other Internet searches through both MeSH heading and text-word searches. Results. A total of 16 studies were identified and analyzed for this review. Nine of the sixteen studies were experimental or quasi-experimental design, with Asthma being the most commonly studied disease. Conclusions. While many studies using CBPR were not conducted with the level of scientific rigor typically found in clinical trial research, the studies reviewed each contributed to a greater understanding of the problems they investigated. Furthermore, interventional studies provided lasting benefits to communities under study above what would be found in studies using more traditional research approaches. While CBPR may not be appropriate for all research situations due to the time and resources required, we conclude that is a useful approach and should be considered when conducting community-based research for pediatric and adolescent populations.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Voegtle, Tracy M, "A systematic review of community-based participatory research interventions in pediatric and adolescent populations" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457569.