Utility of Qualitative Metasynthesis: Advancing Knowledge on the Wellbeing and Needs of Siblings of Children With Mental Health Problems

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Qualitative metasynthesis is an interpretive integration of primary qualitative research. It is a relatively new research methodology with questions remaining about utility, validity, and qualitative philosophical integrity. The aim of this article is to present an example of qualitative metasynthesis and to explore the utility, interpretive value, and clinical applications of metasynthesis in advancing our knowledge of the wellbeing and needs of siblings of children with mental health problems. An electronic search of publications from 1990–2011 was conducted. Ten articles were included and analyzed using thematic synthesis and constant targeted comparison. Qualitative metasynthesis allowed novel interpretations beyond those found in primary research in terms of theoretical frameworks and clinical implications. In addition, qualitative metasynthesis produced findings greater in depth and consistency and with more direct clinical implications than primary research and quantitative reviews. Qualitative metasynthesis provides a pathway by which more conclusive, reliable, and generalizable findings are produced and interpretive power and clinical utility are increased. It represents a significant advancement in qualitative methodology with the potential to provide unique contributions to research, theory, and evidence-based practice.

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