Pi Phi Chapter

Investigating the presence of family burden, family pondering and family struggling in a sample of families managing chronic illness: A measure validation study

Nursing Research on the Green

2013 Abstract

Robert A. Goodew B.S.N., RN; Emily Isaacson B.S.N., RN;Janice Miller, B.S.N.,RN;Sonja J. Meiers,Ph.D., RN; Winona State University

  • Background:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that chronic disease (CI), is "among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems" (CDC, 2010, p.1). Families are surrounded by the influences of CI and CI has the potential to influence family member health. Supporting families managing chronic illness can best be done if we understand and can measure family member responses where chronic illness exists.
  • Significance:  Knowledge of family processes is needed to develop nursing practice and models that support the health and improve health outcomes of both the person with a CI and the family. Development of accurate measures of these responses will advance the science of family nursing in this important area for approximately fifty percent of families.
  • Purpose/objective:  The purpose of this secondary analysis was to clarify definitions and existence of the study concepts family pondering, family struggling, and family burden in the family experience of CI. Specific aims of this study were to (a) clarify the conceptual definition and defining attributes of the three study concepts, and (b) determine the extent to which data text from ten interviews with family members of adults experiencing chronic illness from the primary study of families managing CI reflect defining attributes of the three identified concepts.
  • Methods/project:  A qualitative design using content analysis methods was used for this secondary analysis of data from the primary mixed methods study conducted by Eggenberger, Meiers, Krumwiede, Bliesmer, and Earle (2011). The data were obtained from four researcher's interpretations of ten transcripts, utilizing the Validation Matrix created for the secondary analysis based on the literature derived taxonomy. The researchers examined the transcripts for evidence of defining attributes of family member pondering, family member struggling, and family member burden. Researchers indicated the instances of concept attributes by placing a hatch mark in the Validation Matrix corresponding to the attribute.
  • Results:  Data were analyzed using content analysis methods through dyadic and group dialogue to reach consensus on the degree to which the concepts and their defining attributes existed within the data text. Findings of this study were expressed as revised conceptual definitions of family member pondering, family member burden, and family member struggling using the attributes most prevalent in the sample. Researchers determined that there was some overlap among the concepts and that family member pondering seemed to be antecedent to family member struggling in this sample. 
  • Clinical implications:  Future researchers using the Family Illness Experience Visual Analogue Scale (FIEVAS) to measure family struggling, family pondering, and family burden will need to consider the multicollinearilty of these concepts as study assumptions.

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