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Keywords:

  • symptom interpretation;
  • theory construction/model building;
  • assessment

Purpose: To introduce the symptom interpretation model (SIM) and facilitate understanding symptoms from an intrapersonal perspective. Determining an individual's interpretation of symptoms is critical to understanding the resulting decisions.

Organizing Construct: SIM is based on an illness representation model, knowledge structures theroy, and propositions about reasoning. Individuals name and assign meaning to environmental stimuli. Based on this interpretation, behaviors are selected for symptom management.

Methods: Theory derivation was used to develop SIM for understanding comparisons of known and new symptoms in a behavioral outcomes context.

Conclusions: Symptom familiarity reinforces patterns about symptom management. SIM enriches understanding of symptom experiences. Comprehensive assessment, including the intraindividual perspective, is essential to successful symptom management.