The measurement of health in nursing research

ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 1988 Jul;10(4):23-31. doi: 10.1097/00012272-198807000-00005.


Health, a concept central to the discipline of nursing, was investigated to determine how it is operationalized in the nursing research literature. It was found that, in spite of extensive admonitions in most theoretical guides (which otherwise vary) not to do so, nurse researchers most often characterize health in research as the absence of illness, disability, or symptoms, and they frequently ignore multiple dimensions, eg, physical, mental, or sociological aspects, as well as the reliability and validity of the measures when assessing the health of subjects. Suggestions for advancing research on the concept of health consistent with theoretical beliefs are offered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nursing*
  • Research Design*