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Friday, 30 August 2013 16:33

Statistics for Health Care Research 1 Featured

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Statistics for Health Care Research

 Problem Statement

Cardiovascular risk, health behavior, and life satisfaction are the major determinants of health among the elderly. The study was conducted to establish the significance of the influence of a health promotion program on the health of institutionalized elderly women. The study uses a pretest and post test analysis in determining the changes. The status of the health of the participants was evaluated after treatment was administered. The difference of the specific s before and after implementation of the health promotion program is analyzed to determine success. Assessment of health behavior involves measurement of variables including the level of blood cholesterol, triglyceride, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. In assessing health behavior, variables such as exercise, diet, stress management, smoking, and health responsibility were measured. To make the study comprehensive, the researchers determined the participants’ satisfaction with life.  These variables were measured at pretest, at three most post test, and at six months post test. An observation of the trend reflected the impact of the health promotion program on the quality of life of the elderly women. The rationale for this study is the high cost of health care for elderly people and the complexity of health problems that they experience. Designing health promotion programs that enhance improvement of cardiovascular risks, health behaviors, and life satisfaction will highly promote advances in searching for solutions to the management of health status of the elderly.

 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions

The study aims to promote the health of elderly people through improvement of health behavior, reduction of cardiovascular risk factors, and enhancement of life satisfaction among the participants. In the study, the researches aimed to find answers the following questions

  • What influence do the health promotion programs have on the cardiovascular health of the elderly?
  • What effect do the programs have on life satisfaction among the aged?
  • What impact can the programs have on the health behaviors of the elderly?

The research questions are relevant to the problem of the study. The study looks at three broad areas and goes deep into the crucial indicators that define these areas. For instance, the study analyzes the level of cholesterol, body mass index, triglyceride, and systolic blood pressure to define cardiovascular health of the elderly women.

 The study has a weakness in terms of study design. In analyzing the impact of the health program, the researchers use a pretest and posttest design, in which participants were exposed to pretest, treatment, and posttest. It uses a single group of participants, hence has no control group. The design, therefore, is not strong in the sense that it does not allow for comparison of the responses to treatment between groups. It is a quasi-experimental design. Experimental designs that use two groups (i.e. a treatment group and control groups) allow for accurate conclusions through comparison with the control group. Therefore, one cannot make concrete conclusions from the results of experimental studies that use one group, rather than controlled experiments. Decisions that need to be made through comparison are many. For instance, comparison helps in determining if the sample mean is sufficient for the conclusion of a significant effect of the program on the cardiovascular risk, health behavior, and life satisfaction.

For health care providers, it is vital to use study designs that have a control when evaluating the impact of different health promotion programs. Using samples with different means for the different variables also support comparative analysis. Accuracy in scientific research is highly valuable because it involves making choices of programs that will positively influence the quality of life of humans. Making decisions between two programs that have almost the same effectiveness requires high accuracy. That is the reason why controlled experiments provide results that are accurate and highly useful for institutional policy making.

 Literature Review

The study utilizes background information from various sources. The design and the statistical analytical methods are sourced from various health science statistics sources including Burns and Grove (2007). The study design that uses pretest and posttest procedures uses guidelines from the source indicated.  The researchers provide citations of sources as required and entry of references at the end of the study report. The author uses sources of research evidences and materials from current collections. The publication dates of the sources used are within the 5-year period required for health care research. The study uses a single sample design that measures the various indicators of health at pretest and at posttest periods i.e. three and six months. The authors describe the methods in terms of the significance, procedures, and limitations. They inform the reader fully and relay information in a way that is objective. For instance, in analyzing the results, the authors discusses the positive and the negative outcome of the study, rather than only focusing on the positives of the study as is often the case in biased research reports. The report provides an objective insight into the study, analyzing the design, results, and provides conclusions based on a comprehensive consideration of the various variables, in terms of the program performance.

 Conceptual Framework

            The study uses the framework of the design used in quasi-experimental studies, which involves matching samples in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disease status, and other variables. The authors do this in form a single sample pretest and posttest study. In displaying results, the researchers use models of exploring data used in past health science research. The table of results for cardiovascular risks is adapted from Kim et al (2003). The results for the various cardiovascular risk indicators are displayed in the form of the measures and the calculated t-test indicating the significance of the impact of the program on each variable.


     The study represents an evaluation of a health program in terms of the impact on cardiovascular risk factors; health behaviors and life satisfaction in institutionalized aged women, (Grove, 2007). In general, the findings indicate a positive change in cardiovascular risk, life satisfaction, and health behaviors. Each category had a few cases of insignificant changes and in a few cases undesired changes. For instance, the impact of the program on systolic blood pressure did not show any significant change. On the other hand, cholesterol and diet behavior experienced the least significant change compared to the impact of the program on other variables. The study’s design used a single group. This did not allow easy conclusion through comparison. The use of a single group of elderly women is the source of the principal limitation of the study because the study does not have a control group. The pretest and posttest designs are very appropriate in health care research. However, future designs should incorporate a control group that serves as the point of reference when analysis changes in the sample group.


Burns, N., & Grove, S. (2011). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (5th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.

Grove, S. (2007). Statistics for health care research: a practical workbook (1st ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.


Last modified on Friday, 30 August 2013 16:35
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