• concept analysis;
  • human immunodeficiency virus;
  • manageability;
  • nursing;
  • symptoms



To report the synthesis of the concept of perceived symptom manageability.


Common symptom assessment parameters fail to address concerns about the impact of symptoms on everyday life, overall functioning, or threats to individuals living with the human immunodeficiency virus. We claim that the concept of ‘perceived symptom manageability’ integrates these important dimensions of the patients' experience of their symptoms.

Data sources

Online databases, thesauri, and dictionaries were accessed in January 2012. A free search was performed scanning the PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases for entries from 2001–2011 using ‘manageability’ in the title or abstract as a search term.


Text-based analysis.

Review methods

We followed the steps delineated by Walker and Avant for concept synthesis. Uses of the concept ‘manageability’ were identified and listed, meaningful usage clusters were generated, and a preliminary working definition was created.


Social resources and individual interpretation were relevant in view of managing a difficult situation, thus positioning ‘manageability’ in a social and interpretational context that exceeded objective control. We preliminarily defined perceived symptom manageability as ‘the extent of the perceived ability to bring social and personal resources into play to successfully deal with or control symptoms, despite difficulties’.


We believe that our working definition represents a promising start to understand and address the manageability problems that individual patients face regarding particular symptoms and may serve as a basis to identify not only symptoms but also areas of intervention that are of most concern to individual patients.