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The research group Heifa (Health in a Family Perspective) -  a family centered approach to children’s’ and adolescents’ health  

  • To explore everyday pain in children and adolescents, and to develop interventions to reduce pain and increase coping of everyday pain in children and adolescents
  • To explore health related quality of life in children, adolescents and their parents.
  • To explore sleep in parents of acute or chronic ill children
  • To implement and evaluate an early intervention framework to promote health in children 0-6 years with focus on obesity, neglect and bullying
  • To explore and evaluate community health interventions for children and families in the Tanga region, and the exchange of nursing students in different health services through Tanga International Competence Center (TICC) in Tanga (Tanzania)

Projects and programs

Pain in children, adolescents and their parents

The aim of the project is to explore pain, and to develop interventions to promote coping and reduction of pain in children, adolescents and their families.


Cultural adaptation and evaluation of the “iCanCope with Pain” app among Norwegian adolescents living with chronic everyday pain.

PI Kristin Haraldstad, PhD fellow Erik Grasaas

Funding: Ministry of Education (KD)

Start Young – Quality of Life and Pain in Generations / Start Ung – livskvalitet og smerte i generasjoner 

PI Gudrun Rohde, PhD fellow Hilde Timenes Mikkelsen

Funding: Ministry of Education (KD)

UngData - a cross-national survey of adolescents´ (14-19 years) health and well-being at the municipal and national levels in Norway.

PI Kristin Haraldstad, Magnhild Høie

Funding: University of Agder

Sleep in parents of healthy, acute or chronic ill children

The aim of the program is to explore sleep in parents of chronic or acute ill children, to identify factors influencing parents’ sleep, and to develop interventions to promote sleep, health and quality of life in parents in divergent phases of life and different contexts.


Sleep in parents of premature infants

PI Liv Fegran, PhD fellow Gunhild Nordbø Marthinsen

Funding: University of Agder, Institute of Health and Nursing Science

Early targeted follow-up of physical and psychological health in children to support evidence-based health service trajectories.

The aim of the program is to develop and evaluate the framework BTI for quality assurance of interventions aimed to promote physical and psychological health in children 0-6 years, focusing on early disclosure of bullying, neglect and obesity.

PI: Liv Fegran

Funding: University of Agder, Sørlandet hospital, Kristiansand municipality

Community work in Tanzania

The aim of this program is to (i) evaluate the HAMA programs; (ii) map community in Tanga; (iii) evaluate the impacts of the exchange of nurse students completing their clinical placements in different health context in Tanga.


How does the involvement in HAMAs campaign-work has an impact on the participating girl’s empowerment and health?

PI: Liv Fegran, masterstudent Ingrid Espegren Dalsmo.

Banana project - What impact does the banana project have on the children involved from parents and teachers’ perspectives?

PI: Kristin Haraldstad, master student Anne Katrine Ebitu.

Funding: University of Agder

Qualified intensive care nurses’ attitudes towards obese intensive care patients

The aim of the project is to explore intensive care nurses’ experiences of caring for obese patients, to develop a web-based         survey to measure their implicit and explicit attitudes towards these patients, and to explore whether their attitudes influence their care of obese patients.

PI Liv Fegran, PhD fellow Anja Nastasja Robstad

Funding: Ministry of Education (KD)



Høie, M, Haraldstad, K., Rohde, G., Fegran, L., Westergren, T., Helseth, S., Slettebø, Å., Johannesen, B. (2017). How school nurses experience and understand everyday pain among adolescents. BMC Nursing

Haraldstad K, Christophersen KA & Helseth S (2017). Health-related quality of life and pain in children and adolescents- a school survey BMC Pediatrics 17(1), DOI: 10.1186/s12887-017-0927-4

Skarstein S, Lagerløv P, Kvarme LG, Helseth S. (2016) High use of over-the-counter analgesic; possible warnings of reduced quality of life in adolescents - a qualitative study. BMC Nurs. 2016 Mar 3;15:16. doi: 10.1186/s12912-016-0135-9. eCollection 2016.

Lagerløv P, Rosvold EO, Holager T, Helseth S. (2016) How adolescents experience and cope with pain in daily life: a qualitative study on ways to cope and the use of over-the-counter analgesics. BMJ Open. 2016 Mar 1;6(3):e010184. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010184.

Helseth S., Haraldstad K, Kvarme L & Winger A (2016) Smerte hos barn og unge. I: Helseth, Leegaard & Nordtvedt (red) Livskvalitet og smerte- et mangfoldig forskningsfelt. Gyldendal Akademisk.

Rohde G, Westergren T., Haraldstad K, Johannessen B, Høie M, Helseth S, Fegran, L & Slettebøe (2015). Teachers’ experiences of adolescents’ pain in everyday life —a qualitative study. BMJ Open 3;5(9): e007989. doi: 10.1136/3;5(9)

Fegran, L., M. S. Ludvigsen and K. Haraldstad (2014). Adolescents and young adults’ experiences of living with everyday pain: a systematic review protocol of qualitative evidence. The JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports 12(8): 116-126.

Health in children and families

Helseth S, Riiser K, Holmberg Fagerlund B, Misvær N, Glavin K. (2017). Implementing guidelines for preventing, identifying and treating adolescent overweight and obesity: school nurses’ perceptions of the challenges involved. J Clin Nurs. 2017 Mar 23. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13823. [Epub ahead of print]

Sodergren SC, Husson O, Robinson J, Rohde GE, Tomaszewska IM, Vivat B, Dyar R, Darlington AS (2017): Systematic review of the health-related quality of life issues facing adolescents and young adults with cancer. Qual Life Res: 1-14.

Westergren T, Berntsen S, Ludvigsen MS, Aagaard H, Hall EOC, Ommundsen Y, Uhrenfeldt L, Fegran L (2017). Relationship between physical activity level and psychosocial and socioeconomic factors and issues in children and adolescents with asthma: a scoping review. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep., 15(8), 2182-2222. doi:10.11124

Aagaard, H., Hall, E., Spliid Ludvigsen, M., & Fegran, L. (2017). Parents’ experiences of neonatal transfer. A meta-study of qualitative research 2000-2017. Nursing Inquiry.

Abildsnes E, Rohde G, Berntsen S, Stea TH (2017): Fun, influence and competence-a mixed methods study of prerequisites for high school students' participation in physical education. BMC Public Health, 17(1):241.

Lysberg, F., Gjerstad, P., Cvancarova, M.S., Innstrad, T., Høie, M., Espenes, G.A. (2017). Has life satisfaction increased over a 20 years period in a knowledge-based society with high material and social standards?  Age group analyses on data from the Norwegian HUNT study.  Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 1-9.

Westergren, T., S. Berntsen, K. C. Lødrup Carlsen, P. Mowinckel, G. Håland, L. Fegran and K. H. Carlsen (2016). "Perceived exercise limitation in asthma: The role of disease severity, overweight, and physical activity in children." Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.

Westergren, T.; Fegran, L.; Nilsen, T.; Haraldstad, K.; Kittang, O.B.; Berntsen, S (2016). Active play exercise intervention in children with asthma: a pilot study. BMJ Open 2016; Volum  (6) Suppl. e009721

Helseth S, Haraldstad K & Riiser K (2016). Helserelatert livskvalitet hos barn og unge med overvekt og fedme. BestPractice 19.

Helseth S, Christophersen KA, Haraldstad K (2015). BMI and HRQOL in Norwegian children and adolescents. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 9;13(1):47. doi: 10.1186/s12955-015-0239-z.

Sigvartsen J, Gabrielsen LE, Abildsnes E, Stea TH, Omfjord CS, Rohde G (2015): Exploring the relationship between physical activity, life goals and health-related quality of life among high school students: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 2016, 15:709physical education - a focus group study. BMC Public Health, 15:1295.

Westergren, T., Y. Ommundsen, K. C. Lodrup Carlsen, K. H. Carlsen, P. Mowinckel, L. Fegran L. and S. Berntsen (2015). "A nested case-control study: personal, social and environmental correlates of vigorous physical activity in adolescents with asthma." J Asthma 52(2): 155-161.

Abildsnes E, Stea TH, Berntsen S, Omfjord CS, Rohde G (2015): Physical education Teachers' and public health Nurses' perception of Norwegian high school Students' participation in physical education - a focus group study. BMC Public Health, 15:1295.

Helseth, Haraldstad & Christophersen (2015). A cross-sectional study of Health-Related Quality of Life and body mass index in a Norwegian school sample (8–18 years): a comparison of child and parent perspectives. Health and Quality of Life Oucomes. 13:47 doi:10.1186/s12955-015-0239

Fegran, L., E. O. C. Hall, L. Uhrenfeldt, H. Aagaard and M. S. Ludvigsen (2014). "Adolescents' and young adults' transition experiences when transferring from paediatric to adult care: A qualitative metasynthesis." International Journal of Nursing Studies 51(1): 123-135.

Helseth S, Misvær N (2010). Adolescents’ perceptions of quality of life – What it is and what matters. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19:1454-61

Method development

Andersen JR, Natvig GK, Haraldstad K, Skrede T, Aadland E, Resaland GK (2016). Psychometric properties of the Norwegian version of the Kidscreen-27 questionnaire. Health Qual Life Outcomes 14(1):58. doi: 10.1186/s12955-016-0460-4.

Holte T., Haugen T., Berntsen S., Haraldstad K., Abildsnes E. (2016). Using the Intervention Mapping protocol to develop a family-based intervention for improving lifestyle habits among overweight and obese children: study protocol for a quasi-experimental trial. BMC Public Health 16(1):109

Andersen, J. R., G. K. Natvig, K. Haraldstad, T. Skrede, E. Aadland and G. K. Resaland (2015). "Is the Kidscreen-27 a valid measure of health-related quality of life in 10-year-old Norwegian children?" PeerJ PrePrints 3: e1134v1131.

Ludvigsen, M. S., E. O. C. Hall, G. Meyer, L. Fegran, H. Aagaard and L. Uhrenfeldt (2015). "Using Sandelowski and Barroso’s Metasynthesis Method in Advancing Qualitative Evidence." Qualitative Health Research 26(3): 320-329.

Spliid Ludvigsen, M., Meyer, G., Hall, E., Fegran, L., Aagaard, H., & Uhrenfeldt, L. (2013). Development of clinically meaningful complex interventions - The contribution of qualitative research. Pflege Zeitschrift, 26(3), 207-214.

Research partners


Unni Mette Köpp, MD, PhD (Sørlandet hospital)

Eirik Abildsnes, MD, PhD (Kristiansand municipality)

Siv Skarstein, RN, PhD (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Borghild Løyland, RN, PhD (Oslo and Akershus University College)

Sveinung Berntsen Stølevik, Professor (University of Agder)

Ulrika Söderhamn, Professor (University of Agder)


Mette Spliid Ludvigsen, RN, PhD (Randers Regional Hospital, Denmark and Nord University, Norway))

Jennifer Stinson, PhD (Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto, Canada)

Professor Inger Hallström (Lund University, Sweden)

Kajsa Landgren, RN, PhD (Lund University, Sweden)

Gudrun Kristjansdottir, Professor (Reykjavik University, Island)

Ruth Nesje (Tanga International Competence Center (TICC), Tanga, Tanzania)

Mercy Chiduo, MC (National Institute for Medical Research, Tanga, Tanzania)