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Nurs Res. 1991 May-Jun;40(3):161-6.

Empirical development of a middle range theory of caring.

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Department of Parent and Child Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle.


A middle-range theory of caring was inductively derived and validated through phenomenological investigations in three separate perinatal contexts. Caring was described in Study I by 20 women who had recently miscarried, in Study II by 19 careproviders in the newborn intensive care unit, and in Study III by 8 young mothers who had been the recipients of a long-term public health nursing intervention. The empirical development and refinement of the theory is discussed. The five caring processes and an overall definition of caring are presented. Finally, study findings are compared and contrasted with Cobb's (1976) definition of social support, Watson's (1979, 1985) "carative" factors, and Benner's (1984) description of the helping role of the nurse.

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