Uncertainty in Illness


College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.


The middle-range nursing theory of uncertainty in illness is presented from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. The theory explains how persons construct meaning for illness events, with uncertainty indicating the absence of meaning. A model of the uncertainty theory displaying the concepts and their relationships forms the basis for the theoretical and empirical material. Discussion of the theory is organized around three major themes: the antecedents of uncertainty, the process of uncertainty appraisal and coping with uncertainty.