What You Cannot See Can Still Kill You: On the Use of Latent Constructs

Author Department

Medicine; Internal Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Nursing research relies heavily on the use of latent constructs to describe and understand phenomena that cannot be measured through direct observation. In statistical models, variables representing these constructs, often operationalized and represented as scores on self-report measures, stand in as symbolic representations of real forces having an impact on patients' experiences of living and dying. In this sense, latent constructs represent real phenomena that cannot always be seen directly.