Research on patient-centeredness within physiotherapy points to a need for clarification about what the concept entails in science and practice and how research positions itself within health care. Thus, the aim is to systematically map the characteristics of research on patient-centeredness in physiotherapy and critically discuss the dominant understandings within. Methods: A systematic research mapping was carried out, based on searches in leading bibliographic databases. Four categories were selected in order to characterize the research field: focus, design, theoretical approach and inherent logic. Findings: Of 5,324 studies, 101 were included in the final mapping, pointing to a limited amount of research. The papers included were published in 47 different journals. Two major research foci emerges: one testing or developing technologies (tools) to promote patient-centeredness and one exploring patients’ or professionals’ experiences related to physiotherapy practice. Most papers reported on empirical research and there seems to be a dearth of conceptual papers. The theoretical approaches applied were mainly psychological, pedagogical and biomedical. The papers included were divided into equal amounts of studies carried out within inherent logics of causality and complexity. Conclusion: The mapping suggests an incipient awareness of patient-centeredness within the research field of physiotherapy. Empirical studies dominate the field, whereas conceptual and critical papers seem in need of wider acknowledgement. The research field is divided into two mutually disconnected trends: one concerned with understanding the complexity of clinical practice and patients’ experiences of treatment and illness, and another trend concerned with solving “the problem” of patient involvement.
- qualitative research
- mapping review