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Toward a Praxis Theory of Suffering

Morse, Janice M. PhD(Nurs), PhD(Anthro), DNurs(Hon)

Nursing Models of Care

This article revises and summarizes the major findings from a research program exploring the behavioral-experiential nature of suffering. Suffering is perceived as comprising two major behavioral states: enduring (in which emotions are suppressed; it is manifested as an emotionless state) and emotional suffering (an overt state of distress in which emotions are released). Individuals who are suffering move back and forth between these two states according to their own needs, their recognition/acknowledgment/acceptance of events, the context, and the needs and responses of others. Implications for the provision of comfort during suffering states are presented.

Director, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology; Professor, Faculty of Nursing; Senior Scientist, Medical Research Council; Health Scientist, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

The assistance of many colleagues is recognized. Special thanks go to Barbara Carter, Barbara Doberneck, Judith Hupcey, Maria Mayan, Karin Olson, Janice Penrod, Charlotte Pooler, and Maritza Tason. This research was funded by NIH NINR RO1 NR02130-08, MRC #MT14490, and MRC Scientist and AHFMR Health Scholar Award awarded to Dr J Morse.

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