1. Lee, Seung Eun MSN, RN
  2. Vincent, Catherine PhD, RN
  3. Finnegan, Lorna PhD, RN


The Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms was developed to enhance understanding of relationships among multiple symptoms and symptom experiences. Although the theory has been used to guide research, no formal critique of the theory has been published since 2000. This article comprehensively analyzes and evaluates the theory using Fawcett and DeSanto-Madeya's framework. Although its semantic clarity, semantic and structural consistency, and parsimony could be improved, the theory demonstrates good social and theoretical significance, testability, and empirical and pragmatic adequacy. Understanding multiple patient symptoms is essential, and the theory demonstrates that nurses should focus on multiple rather than individual symptoms.