Using Field Theory to Explore the Resourcefulness of Patients with Depression

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chun-O Chien, RN, MSN
Psychiatric ward, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan
Chien-Yu Lai, RN, PhD
College of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan


 The purpose of this study was to explore the resourcefulness in patients with depression and to understand the personal or social resourcefulness expected by them.


 A qualitative research design based on Field Theory with the method of focus group interviewing was used.The participants were recruited via purposive sampling from outpatients department of a medical center in Southern Taiwan. Totally, seven adults with depression were invited and completed the full courses of focus group in this study. Closed groups with six interviews, two hours per time, were implemented to collect data. Content analysis was used to analyze the findings of this study. 


Three themes in terms of resourcefulness in patients with depression were concluded as follows. The first theme was “Personal resourcefulness”, including four subthemes such as “relieving emotional tension by self”, “problem solving”, “positive thinking”, and “self-efficacy”. Depressed adults were used to crying, writing diary, shouting and exercise to relieve their emotional tension. They had tried to avoid the stressors, shifting attention, using relaxation skills and doing some things they enjoyed to get rid of the distress. They also used active approaches such as positive self-encouragement and positive thinking to change their mind. Additionally, they possessed their religious belief and self-efficacy to believe that they can overcome the adversity.

Another theme, “social resourcefulness” was also used to get help from two types of social resources. The first subtheme is “informal resources” including families, friends and/or relative others. “Conveying a help-seeking message”, “talking to others”, “asking help from the right person”, and “being with people” were the means they would apply. The second subtheme is “formal resources” indicating physicians, psychologists, family education centers and community counseling services.

The third theme involved “the ways to get resourcefulness” with two accesses, including “the way for personal resourcefulness” and “the way for social resourcefulness”. Depressed adults expected themselves to effectively use self-efficacy, positive thinking and ways of relieving emotional tension by a well-planned daily schedule or a notice board to remind ones of their personal resources. In addition, in order to acquire listening, company, and timely guidance from others, “to get involved in social support systems” was what they need.


The findings of this study provide clinical staffs to have better understanding about depressed adults’ skills of resourcefulness which they usually used. Knowing the gaps in successfully performing the ability of resourcefulness, the training programs constituting resourcefulness skills will be suggested to develop for patients with depression.