Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Pediatric Psychology, Fourth Edition



Publisher Name

Guilford Press

Publisher Location

New York: NY


What is the role of research in the field of pediatric psychology? To answer this question, it is useful to imagine what clinical practice would be like if we had no research foundation for our work. Without such a foundation, practitioners would have no basis for suggesting specific interventions or understanding why some interventions are successful and why others fail. Similarly, without a research foundation, assessments conducted with children would be based on unstandardized assessment methods, and no normative data would be available. Clearly, most of us would agree that scientific research is the foundation of pediatric psychology, including all activities in which pediatric psychologists are engaged (Noll, 2002; Roberts & Ilardi, 2003).

The purpose of this chapter is to review research designs and methods in the field of pediatric psychology. We begin with a focus on the importance of theory as a basis for conducting pediatric psychology research, and then move on to a discussion of research questions often posed by pediatric psychologists. Next, we provide an overview of research designs commonly used in pediatric psychology, including a review of challenges faced by pediatric psychologists who conduct research in pediatric settings. Moreover, we discuss several methodological and statistical issues that are important to consider in designing research and conducting data analyses. We conclude with a look to the future, discussing recommendations for research in the field of pediatric psychology.




Author Posting. © The Guilford Press 2009. This chapter is posted here by permission of Guilford Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The chapter was published in the Handbook of Pediatric Psychology, Fourth Edition, 2009,

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