Developing a theoretical definition of self-organization: A principle-based concept analysis in the context of uncertainty in chronic illness

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

Abstract

AIM: To develop a theoretical definition of self-organization to increase the understanding of the Reconceptualized Uncertainty in Illness Theory (RUIT).

BACKGROUND: Mishel described the change of the uncertainty appraisal over time in people with a chronic illness by means of the RUIT. Therefore, she introduced the concept of self-organization. However, its meaning is difficult to comprehend because its descriptions remained highly abstract.

DESIGN: A principle-based concept analysis.

DATA SOURCE: Entries of lexicons and journal publications, explicitly or implicitly addressing self-organization in the context of any social phenomenon.

REVIEW METHODS: We conducted a conceptually driven literature search in lexicons and four databases and performed citation tracking.

RESULTS: Self-organization stands for a transition between psychological instability and psychological adjustment. It is conditioned by illness-related obstacles or uncertainties that are perceived as life-threatening. This adaptation process shows overlaps with cognitive reframing and is promoted by time, resilience, social support, and positive development of the disease. It leads to empowerment and a new perspective of life and uncertainty.

CONCLUSIONS: We enhanced the understanding of the RUIT by developing a theoretical definition of self-organization on a lower level of abstraction and by proposing a new approximation for the operationalization by means of cognitive reframing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-962
Number of pages9
JournalNursing Forum
Volume57
Issue number5
Early online date19 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • cognitive reframing
  • concept analysis
  • reconceptualized uncertainty in illness theory
  • self-organization
  • uncertainty in illness theory
  • Uncertainty
  • Humans
  • Social Support
  • Female
  • Chronic Disease
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Concept Formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)

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