Trend Article Analysis

Trend Article Analysis

Trend Article Analysis The following essay will touch on the journal article titled Publication trends in behavioral gerontology in the past 25 years: are the elderly still an understudied population in behavioral research? , in which the researchers will attempt to answer the question of gerontology and whether it is an understudied and underreported research topic within the field of behavioral research.

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The goal of the essay is to determine the research article methodology, procedures and methods, what type of data was analyzed and the ultimate results of the study concluding the authors’ intent to prove that gerontology is a fledgling topic that should be much more prominent in the field of psychology. To support the research article another study will be presented to show that caregivers and elderly patients seek information and knowledge as often as possible to understand and prepare for future needs.

With few publications in print regarding the aging and the disabilities that develop as a result of age, this often leads to frustration and confusion, as noted through the second article Development and evaluation of a combined story and fact-based educational booklet for patients with multiple brain metastases and their caregiver. Research Question and Methodology The journal article written by Buchanan, J. , Husfeldt, J. , Berg, T. , and Houlihan, D. , (2008) is a research study conducted on publication trends in gerontology to find out whether the aging are an understudied population in behavioral research.

Aging is a natural effect that all races experience without discrimination, however there is question that the subject itself is not studied or reported on often enough. The United States is currently experiencing a tremendous demographic shift known as the ‘‘Graying of America. ’’ According to the United States Census Bureau (2000) there are approximately 35 million Americans (12% of the population) age 65 and older. However, by 2030, it is expected that about 66 million Americans (20% of the population) will be 65 or older (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008, p. 5). The authors of the journal state that more elderly people are developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other conditions related to this disorder at very quick rate and health care is increasing at a very fast pace for those who are age 65 and older. In those who require nursing home type care, it is noted that about 79% of them have home care and those who are in charge of caring for them have very little medical or behavioral training (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008).

With so many Americans requiring home care, nursing care and are heavily reliant on medications, it is necessary that the general public, as well as medical care givers and other medical professionals, become as educated as possible on the diseases that are developing among family members. Research Question The research question remains: Are there enough studies conducted to deal with the issues of gerontology to better educate the aging or their caregivers? “Conveying information to patients and caregivers is essential to facilitate informed treatment decisions and positive coping strategies” (Kitamura, et al. 2011, pp. 642-643). In the journal article Development and evaluation of a combined story and fact-based educational booklet for patients with multiple brain metastases and their caregivers, the authors conducted a study to find out what the preference was for caregivers and their patients to read the informational pamphlets regarding their sickness. The study conducted found that about 51% of patients preferred a story and fact approach to reading the informational pamphlets provided (Kitamura, et al. 2011) and while this may not always be an ideal option for reporting studies, it is a positive step toward educating where it is needed. The question remains are there enough informational types of pamphlets and other publications available for the elderly and their caregivers? Without question, people who are in the position of caregiver are in need of, and desire, literature to understand what they are dealing with in terms of symptoms and care options; it becomes a necessity at this point to provide research, reports, and articles on a frequent basis to suffice these needs and reduce confusion and frustration about what to expect.

Patients generally focus on current informational needs, such as symptom management and side effects of treatment, while caregivers want more information about the future, such as life expectancy and anticipated symptoms. In addition, caregivers expressed frustration when they were unable to explore future needs (Kitamura, et al. , 2011, p. 643). Procedures and Methods “Clearly, indicators regarding the status of the elderly in America point to increased attention to their needs, and greater access to research and related information that could prove beneficial” (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008, p. 6). The researchers began their study by conducting a literature review of 109 articles that were published over a span of 25 years that included aging from eight different highly circulated publications (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008). About 30% of these journals included participants who had cognitive disabilities. The research in publication trends was to discover how the changing demographics might have impacted the information reported in medicinal journals over time (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008).

They found that during the years 1964 – 1980 there were only about 15 articles that exclusively involved elderly patients. After 1984 though, the number of behavior-oriented researchers conducting any kind of research on the elderly began to disappear even though there remained a growing need to publish information “increasing awareness and stimulating research in the area of behavioral gerontology” (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008, p. 67). Data Analysis

The researchers analyzed their data using a table to report results to include the publication’s name, the number of articles analyzed from each publication, the average number of articles that were published each year including and excluding behavioral gerontology, and those articles that specifically discussed dementia (a highly probable disease development in the elderly) (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008). Electronic searches were conducted to find out in these articles just how many studies, number of pages, and what volume number of the journal were found by each researcher with mean annual results.

To ensure integrity in the research, randomly chosen journal samples were given to research assistants who conducted a search by hand to ensure the accuracy of the electronic search (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008, p. 69). Results At the conclusion of the research study it was found that the number of articles located that contained geriatric information publications was 13 that were published in 1980 and prior and 96 were published after 1980 and the publication JABA had the most studies that were reported each year which was about 0. 1 articles (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008). The researchers found that given the demographic changes over the last two to three decades, the number of published informational articles was surprisingly small, with an average of about one article published for every 10 articles that were released. It may seem that the real question isn’t a question of why there isn’t a variety of information, but perhaps the underlying explanation of the lack of publications reporting geriatric information and care giving tips.

It may seem that some separate explanations are the lackluster number of individuals taking interest in the geriatric field either due to lack of concern or the lack of courses specializing in this type of care. As noted in the supporting article by (Kitamura, et al. , 2011), “Effective knowledge transfer is paramount to empower patients and their caregivers”. Another explanation of the miniscule number of articles available is due to the lack of awareness that these type of articles are becoming increasingly necessary given the nature of each elderly population as the decades bring new challenges (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008).

The simplest of explanations may simply be that as we all get older it becomes increasingly difficult for us to read and accept our limitations that the future will have for us and therefore it becomes easier to exclude it from publications (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008). With Alzheimers, and even Parkinson’s, affecting more and more people starting at younger ages, it almost becomes imperative to find a way to better educate the population, especially with health care costs becoming another increasing concern.

Conclusion While the trend does seem to show that the number of publications printed after 1980 have increased to include geriatric articles, it is sadly dismal in number compared to those who are now considered to be elderly and the number of those who are suffering mental disabilities as a result of their age. “Currently, it is estimated that 4. 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, but it is projected that about 13 million will be affected by 2050 if no cure is discovered” (Buchanan, Husfeldt, Berg, & Houlihan, 2008, p. 5). References Buchanan, J. , Husfeldt, J. , Berg, T. , & Houlihan, D. (2008). Publication trends in behavioral gerontology in the past 25 years: are the elderly still an understudied population in behavioral research? Behavioral Interventions , 23 (1), 65-74. Kitamura, C. , Ng, D. , Chung, A. , Bezjak, A. , Garraway, C. , Mclean, M. , et al. (2011). Development and evaluation of a combined story and fact-based educational booklet for patients with multiple brain metastases and their caregivers. Palliative Medicine , 25 (6), 642-649.


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