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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vicki Ann Moss, DNSc, MS, BSN, RN (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: This book of eight middle range theories is the first collection of its kind. Each theory focuses on an aspect of caring in the human health experience (Newman, Sime, and Corcoran-Perry, 1991) and fits into either Newman et al.'s interactive/integrated paradigm or the unitary/transformative paradigm. A ladder concept is used throughout the book which illustrates three levels of discourse — philosophical, theoretical, and empirical — and demonstrates movement from the more abstract to the more specific.
Purpose: The editors observed a growing interest in and development of middle range theories and posed the question, "Why is there no book?" Their purpose was to provide a reference to show how middle range theories could be used in everyday practice and in scholarly research.
Audience: Audiences for this book are masters and doctoral students and faculty as well as practitioners, since middle range theory is focused on a more limited dimension of nursing practice and has practical applications. The editors and contributors have doctorates or are doctoral candidates and have many years of teaching theory at the graduate level.
Features: This book begins with an introduction to middle range theory and the ladder of abstraction. The ladder consists of three rungs from highest abstraction (philosophical level) to less abstract (theoretical level) to more concrete (empirical level). Each level is explained in detail. A table is included that lists names of middle range theory from 1988 to 1998. A second table identifies the middle range theories from 1998 to 2001 including the paradigm each fits with, their major concepts, and theory application. The theories covered in the book are, Theories of Uncertainty in Illness, The Theory of Self-Efficacy, The Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms, The Theory of Family Stress and Adaptation, The Theory of Community Empowerment, The Theory of Meaning, The Theory of Self-Transcendence, and The Theory of Attentively Embracing Story. A final chapter includes evaluation of middle range theory.
Assessment: This is a very well written and well organized book that fills a gap in theoretical nursing literature. My students have repeatedly asked me why there was not a book that specifically targeted middle range theories. A strength of the book is that each theory is presented in the same manner: purpose, foundational literature, key concepts, relationships among the concepts including a pictorial model, use in research, and use in practice. Each theorist also gives a personal accounting of the development of the theory. The appendix summarizes the theories by placing each on the ladder of abstraction. This allows the reader to compare and contrast one theory with another.