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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2017 Nov;38(11):915-923. doi: 10.1080/01612840.2017.1355945. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Flourishing: An Evolutionary Concept Analysis.

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a University of Central Florida College of Nursing , Orlando , Florida , USA.



Mental health is an important measure of public health (WHO, 2004); however, nursing practice and research continues to prioritize mental illness, rather than well-being (Wand, 2011). Flourishing is a recent concept in the field of well-being. The term has been used sparingly in nursing practice and research, and conceptual clarification is needed to promote comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to critically analyze flourishing, assess the maturity of the concept, and provide recommendations for future research, education, and practice.


The concept of flourishing was analyzed using the evolutionary approach to concept analysis (Rodgers, 2000). A search for articles on flourishing within the context of well-being was conducted through CINAHL, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. A sample of 32 articles and 1 book was reviewed. Data were reviewed for concept attributes, antecedents, consequences, surrogate terms and related concepts.


Four models of flourishing were identified with six overlapping attributes: meaning, positive relationships, engagement, competence, positive emotion, and self-esteem. Limited longitudinal and predictive studies have been conducted, but there is evidence for several antecedents and outcomes of flourishing. Research is ongoing primarily in psychology and sociology and is lacking in other disciplines.


The concept of flourishing is immature; however, evidence is building for related concepts. A lack of consistent terminology regarding flourishing prevents knowledge development of flourishing as a distinct concept. Further multidisciplinary research is needed to establish standard operational and conceptual definitions and develop effective interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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