Date of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Throughout our daily lives individuals are confronted with some element of uncertainty. There is socioeconomic uncertainty, uncertainty regarding security of employment, and uncertainty related to relationships. When an illness-related event occurs, a whole new set of uncertain circumstances result. The theory of uncertainty in illness provides the health professional with a framework to assist in understanding an individual's reaction to an illness event. Mishel's work on the uncertainty in illness theory has explored the role of uncertainty as one of the factors producing a stress response in patients and their families. Uncertainty has been identified as a significant factor influencing a person's expectations about illness, treatment, and prognosis (Mishel, Hostetter, King, & Graham, 1984). The focus of the paper is to explore the middle-range theory of uncertainty in illness as conceptualized by Mishel, identify research related to the concept and propose nursing interventions to manage the effects of uncertainty.