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A New Way of Thinking About Fatigue: A Reconceptualization

Karin Olson
ONF 2007, 34(1), 93-99 DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.93-99

Purpose/Objectives: To present a reconceptualization of fatigue.

Data Sources: Studies indexed in CINAHL®, MEDLINE®, PubMed, Psyc INFO, SPORTDiscus, and CancerLit from 1995-2004; studies included in the bibliographies of indexed articles; and five qualitative studies conducted by the author.

Data Synthesis: Tiredness and exhaustion are conceptually distinct from fatigue. All three concepts are located along an adaptational continuum in a manner consistent with stress theory.

Conclusions: Interventions should focus on the elimination or reduction of stressors and the increase of patients' resistance to stressors.

Implications for Nursing: Interventions that prevent or delay progression from tiredness to fatigue will be different from those that prevent or delay progression from fatigue to exhaustion.

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