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Antiracist symptom science: A call to action and path forward

Published:November 15, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2022.07.014

      Highlights

      • Symptom scientists can conduct antiracist research in order to disrupt racism.
      • Racial disparities have been identified in some areas of symptom science.
      • When racial disparities are found, researchers should probe for multilevel causes.
      • Racism and discrimination are not consistently investigated as determinants.
      • Policy recommendations are key to dismantle institutional and systemic racism.

      Abstract

      Nurse scientists recognize the experience of racism as a driving force behind health. However, symptom science, a pillar of nursing, has rarely considered contributions of racism. Our objective is to describe findings within symptom science research related to racial disparities and/or experiences of racism and to promote antiracist symptom science within nursing research. In this manuscript, we use an antiracist lens to review a predominant symptom science theory and literature in three areas of symptom science research—oncology, mental health, and perinatal health. Finally, we make recommendations for increasing antiracist research in symptom science by altering (a) research questions, (b) recruitment methods, (c) study design, (d) data analysis, and (e) dissemination of findings. Traditionally, symptom science focuses on individual level factors rather than broader contexts driving symptom experience and management. We urge symptom science researchers to embrace antiracism by designing research with the specific intent of dismantling racism at multiple levels.

      Keywords

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