Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gayle Roux


The purpose of this descriptive phenomenologic study was to explicate the eidetic structure and essence of inner strength in men. Based in the philosophy of Husserl (2012) and developed from the methodology of Giorgi (2009), inner strength in men emerged as a unique phenomenon comprised of five structural themes: 1) mentally managing; 2) purposefully moving; 3) intentional normalizing; 4) intentional connecting; and, 5) mobilizing self to get through. The essence of inner strength in men was “purposefully moving ‘through a glass darkly’ to get to the other side.”

Twelve men aged 50 years or older (m = 60.25 years) shared their experiences of using inner strength throughout their lives. Their stories were audiotaped and transcribed. The narratives were manually coded for meaning units, sub-themes, and eidetic structure until the final essence emerged.

The findings demonstrated some consistencies with previous research on inner strength in women and in the elderly, yet at the same time demonstrated unique characteristics that have implications for nursing practice. These findings support the need for enhancements to intervention strategies and comprehensive care planning for men. This research adds to the body of literature about inner strength and poses new questions for further qualitative and empirical inquiry, specifically for men with chronic and/or life-threatening health challenges.