Caring: theoretical perspectives of relevance to nursing

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Caring as a central concept within nursing has led to the development of several caring theories, the most well known being Madeleine Leininger's Theory of Culture Care and Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring, both of which were formulated in the 1970s. This paper explores a total of four caring theories: the two established theories presented by Leininger and Watson, Simone Roach's theory developed in the 1980s, and a recent caring theory developed by Boykin & Schoenhofer. A comparison of these theories is presented drawing on a number of criteria, namely: origin of theory, scope of theory, definition of caring, description of nursing, key concepts of the theory, and goal/outcome. Additionally, simplicity as a central component of internal structure is examined in relation to each. Based on this analysis, similarities and differences are highlighted, concluding with a discussion of the utility of the caring theories within nursing practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1395
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 1999


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