Conceptual analysis of loneliness in dying patients

Robert Brown, Hugh P. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a conceptual analysis of loneliness andhighlights the importance of loneliness for dying patients. It issuggested that patient and professional avoidance of, andreluctance to address, this subject may result in part because of alack of understanding of the concept. In analysing the conceptand providing a theoretical definition, this article incorporates themethods adopted by Walker and Avant (1983) and Rodgers(1989a). The defining attributes, related concepts, antecedentsand consequences of loneliness are examined and a model caseis presented. The analysis concludes that loneliness is: asubjective experience which involves the social meaning of death;based on a person’s relationship with those around him/her; andis an individualized process which is characterized by loss. It issuggested that future research should concentrate on exploringthe ‘living’ reality of dying people which in conjunction withnursing knowledge could improve the quality of life for dyingpatients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 1999


  • Loneliness
  • Concept analysis
  • Stigmatization
  • Isolation
  • Loss
  • Quality of life


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