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Developmentally appropriate healthcare for young people: a scoping study
  1. Albert Farre1,
  2. Victoria Wood2,
  3. Tim Rapley2,
  4. Jeremy R Parr3,
  5. Debbie Reape4,
  6. Janet E McDonagh1
  1. 1School of Immunity and Infection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Tyne and Wear, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Albert Farre, Institute of Child Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK; a.farre{at}


Background There is increasing recognition of the importance of providing quality healthcare to meet the biopsychosocial needs of young people. ‘Developmentally appropriate healthcare’ (DAH) for young people is one term used to explain what these services consist of. However, this term remains ill defined.

Aims (i) To analyse the use of the term DAH in the scientific literature and (ii) to identify and explore the range of meanings attributed to the term in relation to young people.

Methods A scoping review was conducted to map the presence of the term DAH in the literature. To analyse the use and meanings attributed to the DAH terminology, data underwent qualitative content analysis using a summative approach.

Results 62 papers were selected and subjected to content analysis. An explicit definition of DAH was provided in only 1 of the 85 uses of the term DAH within the data set and in none of the 58 uses of the prefix ‘developmentally appropriate’. A link between the use of the term DAH and the domains of adolescent medicine, young people, chronic conditions and transitional care was identified; as were the core ideas underpinning the use of DAH.

Conclusions There is a need for consistency in the use of the term DAH for young people, the related stage-of-life terminology and age range criteria. Consensus is now needed as to the content and range of a formal conceptual and operational definition.

  • Adolescent Development
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Adolescents
  • Young Adults

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