The Concept of Overcoming Article Critique

Excerpt from Article Critique :


Defining Characteristics

Empirical Referents

The ability to help a person or a patient is often a complex affair that involves care on a much deeper level than simply treating symptoms. "Overcoming" is a concept that was chosen by the authors; this concept is multifaceted and includes many different aspects, but can be thought as roughly being able to overcome a personal challenge to meet a desired outcome (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011). The concept of overcoming is interesting to me and I feel that I have had overcome many things in my life; although these challenges were on a different scale than the case studies provided. However, understanding what it takes to "overcome" could be a valuable concept to many people.

The significance of the concept in the profession can be largely thought of in terms of expanding the lexicon to include terms that might be more relevant to a larger population. The concept of overcoming seems to include many other concepts that are already well-defined. Although there may be subtle differences, I think the originality and contribution to this concept is that way that it organizes related concepts in a new way that might appeal to a broader audience and be more readily understood by some patients and/or professionals.

I chose this specific concept for the specific fact that the term, "overcoming" is widely used and generally not understood on a detailed level. Yet, at the same time, most people will have a basic understanding of the concept naturally. Because of this, I think it could be a useful concept to explore.

History Section

The concept of overcoming can be applied to many different situations in life and is not specific to nursing. However, the authors note that it appears in nursing and health disciplines to de-ne one's ability to work through or surmount an issue, problem, obstacle, or situation such as addictive behaviors (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011).

My belief is that the concept of overcoming is so broad and included in popular culture, as well as generally includes an inspirational aspect to it, could appeal to make individuals who are undergoing treatment and would benefit from the inspirational nature of this concept.

The authors also describe the terms use in many different contexts. For example:

"The process of overcoming has also been popularized in songs of protest, activism, and/or spiritual awakening as well as in a host of self-help books from binge eating (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011)"

Searches in the academic literature revealed the use of the concept of overcoming in a wide array of different disciplines -- including everything from law, marketing, psychology, sociology, and many more. For example, one study used the concept of overcoming in overcoming the challenges related to succession in a family business (Freire, Soares, Nakayama, & Spanhol, 2010). The concept of overcoming is largely devoted to cultural changes that occur in an organization as a result of succession. Another article applies the concept to a national perspective which tackles the issues related to a country losing highly qualified and skilled workers to foreign markets and opportunities, a concept known as "brain drain" (Levatino & Pecoud, 2012). However, the concept of overcoming seems to be largely everywhere in the literature and most cases appear to refer to the inspirations aspects inherent in the concept.


The first definition that the authors give comes from the American Heritage Dictionary which states that the word "overcoming" is derived from the Old English word, ofercuman, and means to get the better of; to defeat (another) in competition or con-ict; to conquer, prevail over, or surmount; or to overpower or overwhelm, as with emotion. Synonyms such as vanquish, survive, best, beat, conquer, and hurdle and antonyms such as give in, surrender, relapse, and yield, connote a process of winning over losing, success over failure, or surmounting rather than succumbing to (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011).

The second definition, or alternative, that the authors provide focuses on the inspirational qualities of the concept and reference figures such as Helen Keller who is known for her inspirational ability to overcome significant personal challenges in her life.

The author then expands on this definition to include the concepts use in "songs of protest, activism, and/or spiritual awakening as well as in a host of self-help books from
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binge eating" (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011). This is followed by many examples of popular uses of the concept in these forms; including a quote from the Bible.

The author then briefly mentions the use of the concept in the health disciplines which is thought of as the ability to "work through or surmount an issue, problem, obstacle, or situation such as addictive behaviors" (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011).

The authors then combine the definitions into a working definition for their research that can be defined as:

"Three key de ning attributes have been identi ed for the concept overcoming: (a) an ability to recognize or acknowledge that a behavior, situation, event, or problem exists and is undesirable, impeding, or unhealthy; (b) demonstrated readiness and determination to change or surmount the behavior, situation, event, or problem; and (c) belief that efforts to change or surmount the behavior, situation, event, or problem will improve one's future life quality. Overcoming is thus de-ned as a deliberate and thoughtful process of changing or conquering a self-perceived problematic circumstance, challenge, or adversity in order to live a healthier and happier future existence." (Brush, Kirk, Gultekin, & Baiardi, 2011).

All of the various definitions that are provided for the concept of overcoming are definitely similar. I personally believe that the author did a good job of taking a more systematic approach to defining the concept by identifying the key attributes.


Understanding -- the individual who is attempting to overcome some obstacle or adversity, must first understand the situation to some extent. They need to recognize that there will undoubtedly have to be some form of behavior change to fulfill the concept.

Self-efficacy -- the individual needs to believe that they have the ability to make the needed changes to overcome whatever challenges or adversity that is present. Without a belief that overcoming is at least possible, the individual would be largely unmotivated to try to make a change in their behaviors.

Change -- change is also a critical component to overcoming for the simple fact that if the obstacle did not require change on some level, then it would be a routine act that could be considered as something in the way of a normal daily challenge and would not require one to "overcome." "

Planning -- the individual must construct some strategy to be able to make the needed changes in their behavior or situation to overcome. It can be thought of as a personal intervention strategy in which the individual recognizes that a change needs to be made and responds to this with a plan to do so.

Optimism -- the authors state that it is necessary to have optimism. However, of all the antecedents mentioned, this seems as if it's the weakest addition.

It is not completely clear that optimism must be an antecedent in overcoming. While it could improve the likelihood of success, overcoming does not seem to be dependent upon the individual maintaining a level of optimism.

Defining Characteristics

The authors do not dedicate a section on the defining characteristics of what overcoming entails. However, I do not personally feel like this detracts from the concept because many of the defining characteristics appear in the other sections; both before and after where one might expect to see this section.


The authors first give the general definition of consequences as provided by Walker & Avant (2005) which states consequences are those events or incidents that can occur as a result of the occurrence of a concept and that can often stimulate new ideas or avenues for research pertaining to certain concepts. There are also consequences that are provided that relate to overcoming.

Quality of Life -- the result of overcoming will be a better quality of life in some regard

Finding Hope and Meaning in Life -- although this is somewhat relevant to the inspiration aspect of overcoming, it is not clear that things like hope and finding meaning in life are necessary consequences to overcoming.

Moving Beyond a Difficult Situation -- this seems reasonable and relevant to overcoming. The individual must overcome something difficult, as in out of the ordinary, to overcome

Positive Outcome -- the individual must achieve a positive outcome that was intended; or at least a more positive outcome relative to the conditions that were present before an individual began the overcoming process.

Again, things included in the concept of overcoming may not necessarily need to include items like optimism, hope, and especially finding meaning in life. While these items may be related to overcoming in many cases, I do not feel that overcoming necessarily needs such…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brush, B., Kirk, K., Gultekin, L., & Baiardi, J. (2011). Overcoming: A Concept Analysisnuf_227 160..168. Nursing Forum, 160-168.

Freire, P., Soares, A., Nakayama, M., & Spanhol, F. (2010). Succession Process in a Family Business: Knowledge Management Overcoming Resistence to Organizational Changes. Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management, 713-736.

Levatino, A., & Pecoud, A. (2012). Overcoming the Ethical Dilemmas of Skilled Migration? An Analysis of International Narratives on the "Brain Drain." The American Behavioral Scientist, 1258-1267.

Walker, I., & Avant, K. (2005). Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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