Concept Comparison and Analysis
Jo Ann Tyler Green
Concept Comparison and Analysis
The concept, quality of life, as used in nursing theories, is presented in a historically situated context. This approach to concept analysis was selected to illuminate the subjective, contextual, and fluid nature of the concept. Based on this review, quality of life is defined as an intangible, subjective perception of one’s lived experience. From a review of Peplau’s, Rogers’, Leininger’s, King’s, and Parse’s conceptualizations of quality of life, it is concluded that it may be viable to replace health with quality of life as a meta-paradigm concept for nursing.
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The purpose of this inquiry is to enhance conceptual clarity from a nursing perspective by critically examining the concept, quality of life, as it has been used
in contemporary nursing theories. There have been no previous published analyses of the concept in relation to nursing theory. Therefore, a critical review of quality of life in nursing theories is presented in historical context.
Hildeguard Peplau’s theory resonates with contemporary theories that describe nursing as relational practice, and her ideas continue to contribute to research and practice, particularly in present-day mental health nursing. Quality of life is embedded in Peplau’s nursing theory as an intangible, all-encompassing phenomenon; it is the subjective perception of the condition of a person’s life (Peplau, 1988). Quality of life “is synonymous with wellbeing or psychological wellness” (Peplau, 1988, p. 10) and it is often associated with health. While relationship is central to Peplau’s theory, quality of life is a by-product of the relationship and it is significant to her theory.
Peplau (1994) contended that quality of life is primarily a subjective perception. It varies with changing circumstances; it is time and situation dependent. However, it has an intangible quality. She stated, “quality of life is not a static state, nor is it a firm goal, but rather it is more like a moving target–about the condition of a person’s life varying with changing circumstances” (Peplau, 1988, p. 10). Consistent with the assumptions underpinning Peplau’s theory, quality of life is primarily influenced by health, personal relationships, and context (Peplau, 1988). Her detailed description of the attributes of the concept facilitates practical application in nursing.
Martha Rogers’ (1970) theory, human beings and their environments are unified wholes, or open systems continuously exchanging energy with one another. This holistic view of human beings may be the aspect of Roger’s conceptual framework that resonates most for nurses in practice. Health and illness are not clearly defined concepts, but are considered to be valued words used to express the evolving processes of life. Rogers defined environment as a continually changing, pandimensional energy field (Rogers, 1990). Nursing is considered to be the application of healing modalities to promote human interaction with the environment and the realization of potential (Wright, 2007). Rogers originally formulated five assumptions to describe the relationship between human beings and their environment (Rogers, 1970). More recently, the original building blocks of Rogers’ conceptual framework evolved
into four critical elements (energy field, openness, pattern, and pandimensionality) to describe what can be characterized as a mutual relationship between human beings and their environment (Rogers, 1990). Implicit in Rogers’ theory is the notion of life satisfaction, a valuation of the life process (Rogers, 1970). Life...