Familiarity: A Concept Analysis on Rural Life



Purpose: To fully conceptualize familiarity, delineating it from other rural concepts and understanding its role in rural life.

Background: Rural nurse researchers identify familiarity as a concept found in rural life. Familiarity is a term used in rural literature, nursing research, and theory but lacks comprehensive conceptual understanding. To advance rural nursing science, concepts need updating to support rural research and advance theory development.

Method: A scoping review of the literature was completed using the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology and supported by the seminal work of Arksey and O’Malley. Using Walker and Avant’s (2019) eight-step method, the scoping review findings informed this familiarity concept analysis.

Findings:  The familiarity analysis revealed three defining attributes, ‘repeated exposure’, ‘knowledge’, and ‘deep understanding’. Antecedents which proceed familiarity include: (i) varied contexts; (ii) lack of anonymity; (iii) novelty. Consequences which result from familiarity are: (i) trust; (ii) vulnerability; (iii) over-familiarity; and (iv) physiologic reactions. Model and alternate cases developed are presented along with identified empirical referents.

Conclusion: This paper presents findings supporting familiarity as a concept in rural life and form a conceptual foundation for future research and further exploration.  The findings also provide the components needed when defining familiarity in rural research.  Understanding familiarity is necessary for recognizing how rural nurses experience familiarity and its influence in their personal and professional lives.

Keywords:  familiarity, scoping review, rural, nursing, theory
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.14574/ojrnhc.v23i1.729     

Author Biographies

Marilyn A. Swan, PhD, RN, Minnesota State University

Associate Professor, School of Nursing

Barbara B. Hobbs, PhD, RN, South Dakota State University

Professor Emerita, College of Nursing

Luke J. Gietzen, MA, University of North Dakota

Clinical Psychology PhD Student, Department of Psychology