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Keywords:

  • parental uncertainty;
  • posttraumatic stress;
  • Mishel's uncertainty in illness theory

Purpose: To explicate the link between parental uncertainty and posttraumatic stress as a way to stimulate advancement in the design and evaluation of nursing interventions for parents of children with serious illness.

Methods: The literature on Mishel's uncertainty in illness theory and its reconceptualization-parental uncertainty in serious childhood illness-and posttraumatic stress are reviewed and synthesized. Pertinent methodological and sociocultural issues are discussed.

Conclusions: The literature indicates support for the theoretical link between parental uncertainty and posttraumatic stress. This linkage provides direction for the design and evaluation of nursing interventions to support parents of children with serious childhood illness.