Transformation of provisional existence of unknown limit: A grounded theory
Muret, Clara Turner
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The domain of study was the lived experience of provisional existence of unknown limit (PEUL). PEUL was defined through its two critical attributes: (a) alteration in control of one's life, and (b) alteration in time as one has known it. The first purpose was to identify the elements and basic social process of PEUL. The second purpose was to develop a grounded substantive theory that would explain the elements and their relations in the basic social process. The data on which analysis was based included seven formal unstructured interviews, four observations, and interpretation of nine written text of persons who had been in or were presently in a state of PEUL. A systematic analysis of the data was made according to the method for Discovering Grounded Theory developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967). This approach focuses on generating substantive theory through theoretical sampling and constant comparative analysis. The general sociological perspective in this study was that of symbolic interactionism. Transformation best answered the question, "What is the lived experience of PEUL?"; therefore, it emerged as the basic social process. Transformation consists of a set of interrelated processing categories, elements, and convergent states. The process of transformation is entered by a participant after an altering force has changed a normal life to an altered energy state (PEUL). In this study altering forces were identified as illness and oppression. Participants went through the process of transformation via bypassing, recovering, building, diffusing, concentrating, recycling, channeling, and generating to reach a redefined normal life. Each of the processing categories had identifiable elements and specified convergent states. Through operationalization of study data, two dimensions of transformation became apparent. First, the process of transformation is cyclic in nature. Second, the process of transformation has three distinct stages. The grounded substantive theory of transformation may be applied to other social concerns by extending it to formal theory or by applying it to other substantive areas. Uses of the theory for nurses and other health care professionals are suggested and recommendations for further research made.