Roy Adaptation Model as a Conceptual Nursing Theory


The Roy Adaptation Model (RAM) is one of the most commonly used conceptual theories of nursing. Understanding its ideas can help medical professionals improve the quality of care they provide and enhance patients’ self-evaluation and mental health. This paper aims at researching the RAM, describing its main concepts, and aligning it with the middle-range theory of caregiver stress in order to translate them into nursing practice and evaluate their utility and soundness.

Evaluation of the Conceptual-Theoretical-Empirical Linkages

The Roy Adaptation Model is a significant contribution to caregivers’ practices. Badr Naga and Al-Atiyyat (2014) claim that it ensures the increased quality of care by suggesting a systematic and researcher-guided approach. The main concept of Roy’s work is the adaptation of patients to environmental changes (Alligood, 2017). According to the model, the goal of nursing practices is to promote health by providing adjustment in several modes of individuals’ lives, including psychological, physical, self-concept, interdependence, and role function (Badr Naga & Al-Atiyyat, 2014). In the context of caring for chronically ill patients, care providers often stress, and the overall tendency of aging in the contemporary world seems to contribute to the situation deteriorated. The implication of the middle-range theory of caregiver stress based on RAM is a feasible and relevant decision for the specified health problem.

Evaluation of the Theory

In her model, Roy presents the concepts of nursing, health, person, and the environment. Those aspects are related to the central idea of the model, which is the adaptation of the person (Alligood, 2017). The theory that can be derived from the model is that the goal of nursing is promoting adaptation to patients by assessing their needs. The literature review shows that the concept has been successfully used in several studies: the research by Alimohammadi, Maleki, Shahriari, and Chitsaz (2015) reveals that the adoption of Roy’s model can increase the level of patients’ adaptation with long-term complications of the diseases.

While considering RAM in the context of the caregiver stress, it is essential to pay attention to the fact that according to the latter, care providers respond to environmental stimuli, which determines the effectiveness of their adaptation (Alligood, 2017). With the aim of providing the most relevant care, the above theory pays attention to the objective burden, age, race, gender, and relationships of caregivers who are overwhelmed with stress and depression. The consideration of such important points allows for stating that the theory proposes a comprehensive and patient-oriented approach to care (Alligood, 2017). Most importantly, the above theory also clearly identified the expected outcomes that signalize the improvement in caregivers’ health condition.

Evaluation of the Empirical Indicators

The RAM based on the middle-range theory was applied to nursing practice using descriptive research (Alimohammadi et al., 2014). Among the key empirical indicators, there were used to determine the role of the theory, the following elements were used: physical functioning, self-esteem, role-enjoyment, and marital satisfaction (Alimohammadi et al., 2014). Assessing the necessity of the mentioned components, it is possible to note that they seem to be contributing to nursing practice. In particular, it is evident that these indicators are helpful for care providers to understand whether the model works in a certain case or not. Indeed, social and family support is important to cope with stressful events and adapt to environmental changes.

Evaluation of the Research Findings

The study examined if the implication of Roy’s theory could positively affect the circumstances of patients (Ursavaş, Karayurt, & İşeri, 2014). Nursing interventions included encouraging the patients in daily activities and physical exercises, evaluation of patients’ concerns and struggles caused by mental health issues, and forming a trust-based relationship. It was revealed that all of the above interventions promoted some enhancement in caregivers’ emotional state. Based on the findings presented by Ursavaş et al. (2014), one may conclude that the middle-range theory of caregiver stress provides the opportunity to test RAM.

It was proved to be especially effective in caregivers with stress who have to care about a chronically ill relative. In terms of the given theory, it is possible to claim that RAM considers the needs of caregivers and declares that the objective burden is the key issue that leads to depression. Applying the mentioned empirical indicators, nurses may understand the response of caregivers to stress and determine further management modes. In general, the review of the available literature shows that the discussed middle-range theory tends to narrow RAM, thus making the scope of practice more focused and detailed.

Evaluation of the Utility and Soundness of the Theory

The RAM offers the methods nurses can use to assess patients’ states according to suggested adaptation modes, including psycho-physiological, role function, self-concept, and interdependence. The limitations of the theory include the complexity of terminology. However, once the suggested model is studied in detail, it can be utilized for improving the quality of care. The utility of the middle-range theory of caregiver stress seems to be high as it presents rather beneficial outcomes in caregivers (Ursavaş et al., 2014). Namely, their approach to caring and emotional tension are two key areas that are likely to be improved through utilizing this theory. The soundness of the theory may be evaluated as high as well since its effectiveness is supported by evidence-based researches.


To conclude, the implementation of the Roy Adaptation Model can significantly improve patients’ responses to their conditions and environment as well as the quality of their lives. The suggested concepts provide insight into the methods of assessment and intervention for nurses. Based on RAM, the middle-range theory of caregiver stress seems to be a feasible decision to help patients who have a chronically ill family member.


Alimohammadi, N., Maleki, B., Shahriari, M., & Chitsaz, A. (2015). Effect of a care plan based on Roy Adaptation Model biological dimension on stroke patients’ physiologic adaptation level. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 20(2), 275-281.

Alligood, M. R. (2017). Nursing theorists and their work (9th ed). San Diego, CA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Badr Naga, B. S. H., & Al-Atiyyat, N. M. H. (2014). The relationship between pain experience and Roy Adaption Model: Application of theoretical framework. Middle East Journal of Nursing, 8(1), 18-23.

Ursavaş, F. E., Karayurt, Ö., & İşeri, Ö. (2014). Nursing approach based on Roy Adaptation Model in a patient undergoing breast conserving surgery for breast cancer. The Journal of Breast Health, 10(3), 134-140.