Delineating the Concept of Hope

Authors

  • Janice M. Morse,

    Corresponding author
    1. Janice M. Morse, RN, PhD, FAAN, Beta Sigma, is Professor of Nursing and Behavioral Science
      Dr. Morse, 307 Health & Human Development East, School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.
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  • Barbara Doberneck

    1. Barbara Doberneck, RN, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Nursing; both at the School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. This research is part of the project, “Delineating Comfort for the Improvement of Nursing Care,” funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH (ROI NR02130-05).
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Dr. Morse, 307 Health & Human Development East, School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

Abstract

This description of the concept of hope was developed using interview data from four participant groups: patients undergoing heart transplant, spinal cord-injured patients, breast cancer survivors, and breastfeeding mothers intending to continue nursing while employed. Advanced techniques of concept analysis (using qualitative methods) enabled the delineation of the seven abstract and universal components of hope: a realistic initial assessment of the predicament or threat, the envisioning of alternatives and the setting of goals, a bracing for negative outcomes, a realistic assessment of personal resources and of external conditions and resources, the solicitation of mutually supportive relationships, the continuous evaluation for signs that reinforce the selected goals, and a determination to endure. Comparison of the various manifestations of these components in the four participant groups revealed unique and distinct patterns of hope. These were labeled: hoping for a chance, incremental hope, hoping against hope, and provisional hope. The implications for nursing practice are discussed

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