Research testing theory: a selective review of Orem's self-care theory, 1986–1991


Professor B W Duldt Department of Adult Health Nursing, School of Nursing East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27834, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which theory testing may have increased in the 5 years since Silva's initial investigation Using the criteria established by Silva, a review of five major research journals in nursing was used to investigate the degree to which Orem's self-care theory of nursing was being empirically tested Hand and computer searches yielded 31 studies purporting to use Orem's theory as the basis for research Of these studies, however, only four (13%) met the criteria for appropriately testing the theory The findings indicate that little change has occurred in using research to test Orem's theory appropriately Implications for research and practice are discussed