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This guide contains resources from the University Library to support your study and research in Nursing.

Using MeSH for child & adolescent health research:

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings): provides a consistent way to retrieve information where authors use different terminology for the same concepts. To search PubMed effectively, you will need to be aware of the MeSH terms used to search for topics relating to child & adolescent health.

Sometimes you will find the age factor as part of the MeSH term - for example Pregnancy in Adolescence, while at others you will need to add the age category to the name of a health problem. One of Medline's great advantages is its list of age groups which you can use when searching. You will find these listed in the Mesh Database.

Exploding MeSH:

Many topics in MeSH have hierarchies of more specific subcategories or related terms. The indentations in the lists reflect the structure of the hierarchy, and the + signs at the end of terms indicate that there is a further hierarchy of terms not displayed here. Any of these terms can be searched individually, or you can explode terms to search sections of the list. Teenage Pregnancy is not a MeSH term. The correct MeSH term is Pregnancy in Adolescence. 

Simple search strategy for articles on teenage pregnancy:

"pregnancy in adolescence"[mh] AND English[lang]

This search is very broad and will retrieve all articles on teenage pregnancy from the Medline database (in the English language)

The following search strategy includes a problem or disease category, plus an age limit (obesity in adolescents)

"obesity"[mh] AND "adolescent"[mh] AND English[lang]

You may sometimes want to exclude adults and children. You may want to find articles which deal only with adolescents NOT articles which deal with adolescents, children and adults too. In this case you could just add

NOT ("adult"[mh] OR "child"[mh])

PubMed's default setting is to "explode" all terms, and so it would exclude adults, including middle aged and older people, and children, including preschool children as well as children aged between 6 and 12.