Parental uncertainty in critical care hospitalization of children.

M. A. Turner, P. S. Tomlinson, B. L. Harbaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the dimensions of uncertainty, including the source, family effect, and parental response, of parents whose child was hospitalized in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). A convenience sample of 13 parents of 8 critically ill children served as subjects for this study. Data were collected using a modified grounded theory method with 1 to 1-1/2 hour interviews of parents within 2-4 days after admission of their child to the PICU. A model of PICU uncertainty was derived which identified four areas in which ambiguity, conflicting information, or perceived inefficiency gave rise to uncertainty. These areas included: environmental uncertainty, illness uncertainty, caregiver uncertainty, and family systems uncertainty. Findings are related to Mishel's Theory of Uncertainty (1987) and implications for pediatric nursing research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalMaternal-Child Nursing Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1990


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