“Tipping point” concept analysis in the family caregiving context

Janice D. Crist, Jian Liu, Kim D. Shea, Rachel L. Peterson, Lori Martin-Plank, Cheryl L. Lacasse, Jennifer T. May, Christina L. Wyles, Deborah K. Williams, Maribeth Slebodnik, Beverly J. Heasley, Linda R. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: Analyze the concept “tipping point” in the older adult family caregiving context to further knowledge about caregiving families, enhancing transdisciplinary theory, research, and practice. Background: While used commonly in some disciplines, how “tipping point” has been used in health care, generally, and in relation to caregiving families, specifically, is less clear. This project was conducted to offer conceptual clarity to tipping point. Design: Walker and Avant's framework. Data Source: Searches of scholarly literature in PsycINFO, CINAHL, and PubMed using the search term “tipping point” in either title or abstract. Review Methods: Definitions used were extracted; instances when the concept was implied but the actual term “tipping point” was not used and contexts where the term was used or implied were identified. Results: The composite definition of a caregiving tipping point is a seemingly abrupt, severe, and absolute change event involving either the older adult or caregiver(s), or both that indicates a breakdown in the status quo of the caregiving system. Conclusions: Transdisciplinary research, care, and policy should treat caregiving families as complex systems, use longitudinal assessments, and include colloquial communication. Early detection of impending tipping points will provide family-centered decisional support and enhance families’ quality of life and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-592
Number of pages11
JournalNursing Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


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