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Sister Callista Roy

The Roy Adaptation Model

Diagrammatic Representation of Human Adaptive Systems

First, consider the concept of a system as applied to an individual. Roy conceptualizes the person in a holistic perspective.
Individual aspects of parts act together to form a unified being. Additionally, as living systems, persons are in constant
interaction with their environments. Between the system and the environment occurs an exchange of information, matter,
and energy. Characteristics of a system include inputs, outputs, controls, and feedback.

The Regulator

The Cognator

Major Concepts



Adaptive responses are those that promote the integrity

of the person. The persons integrity, or wholeness, is
behaviorally demonstrated when the person is able to
meet the goals in terms of survival, growth,
reproduction and mastery. Ineffective responses do not
support these goals. (Roy & Andrews, 1991)

Conditions, circumstances and influences that affect

the development and behavior of humans as adaptive
A state and process of being and becoming integrated
and whole.
The human adaptive system and defined as a whole
with parts that function as a unity for some purpose.
Human systems include people groups
organizations, communities, and society as a whole.
(Roy & Andrews, 1999)

Coping mechanisms describe the control processes of

the person as an adaptive system. Some coping
mechanisms are inherited or genetic, such as white
blood cell defense mechanism against bacteria that seek
to invade the body. Other mechanisms are learned, such
as the use of antiseptics to cleanse a wound.
Two Coping Subsytems

A. Cognator subsystem
Goal of nursing
The promotion of adaptation in each of the four

A major coping process involving four cognitiveemotive channels: perceptual and information
processing, learning, judgment, and emotion.


B. Regulator subsystem

The process and outcome whereby thinking and feeling A basic type of adaptive process that responds
persons as individuals or in groups use conscious
automatically through neural, chemical, and endocrine
awareness and choice to create human and
coping channels.
environmental integration.
Focal stimuli
Four Adaptive Modes
Those stimuli that are the proximate causes of the
1. Physiologic-physical mode: physical and chemical
processes involved in the function and activities of
living organisms; the underlying need is physiologic
Contextual stimuli
integrity as seen in the degree of wholeness achieved
through adaptation to changes in needs. In groups, this
All other stimuli in the internal or external environment,
is the manner in which human systems manifest
which may or may not affect the situation.
adaptation relative to basic operating resources.
The basic need of this mode is composed of the needs
Residual stimuli
associated with oxygenation, nutrition, elimination,
activity and rest, and protection. The complex
Those immeasurable and unknowable stimuli that also
processes of this mode are associated with the senses,
exist and may affect the situation.
fluid and electrolytes, neurologic function, and

endocrine function.
2. Self-concept-group identity mode: focuses on
psychological and spiritual integrity and a sense of
unity, meaning, purposefulness in the universe.
3. Role function mode: refers to the roles that
individuals occupy in society fulfilling the need for
social integrity; it is knowing who one is, in relation to
4. Interdependence mode: the close relationships of
people and their purpose, structure and development
individually and in groups and the adaptation potential
of these relationships.

Scientific Assumptions
Systems of matter and energy progress to higher levels of complex self-organization.
Consciousness and meaning are constructive of person and environment integration.
Awareness of self and environment is rooted in thinking and feeling.
Humans by their decisions are accountable for the integration of creative processes.
Thinking and feeling mediate human action.
System relationships include acceptance, protection, and fostering of interdependence.
Persons and the earth have common patterns and integral relationships.
Persons and environment transformations are created in human consciousness.
Integration of human and environment meanings results in adaptation.
Philosophical Assumptions
Persons have mutual relationships with the world and God.
Human meaning is rooted in the omega point convergence of the universe.
God is intimately revealed in the diversity of creation and is the common destiny of creation.
Persons use human creative abilities of awareness, enlightenment, and faith.
Persons are accountable for the processes of deriving, sustaining, and transforming the universe.

The theory suggests the influence of multiple causes in a situation, which is strength when dealing with multi-faceted human
The sequence of concepts in Roys model follows logically. In the presentation of each of the key concepts there is the
recurring idea of adaptation to maintain integrity. Every concept was operationally defined.
The concepts of Roys model are stated in relatively simple terms.
A major strength of the model is that it guides nurses to use observation and interviewing skills in doing an individualized
assessment of each person.
The concepts of Roys model are applicable within many practice settings of nursing.

Painstaking application of the model requires significant input of time and effort.
Roys model has many elements, systems, structures and multiple concepts.

As one of the weaknesses of the theory that application of it is time-consuming, application of the model to emergency
situations requiring quick action is difficult to complete. The individual might have completed the whole adaptation process
without the benefit of having a complete assessment for thorough nursing interventions.
Adaptive responses may vary in every individual and may take longer time compared to others. Thus, the span of control of
nurses may be impeded by the time of the discharge of the patient.
Unlike Levine, although the latter tackled on adaptation, Roy gave much focus on the whole adaptive system itself. Each
concept was linked with the coping mechanisms of every individual in the process of adapting.
The nurses roles when an individual presents an ineffective response during his or her adaptation process were not clearly
discussed. The main point of the concept was to promote adaptation but none were stated on how to prevent and resolve