Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Patricia A. Roth, EdD, RN, Chair; Mary-Rose Mueller, PhD, RN; Lois Howland, DrPH, RN


Grounded theory, meditation, mindfulness, nursing, perspective, Tai Chi, wellness


While Tai Chi practice has dramatically increased across the U.S., its mechanism is unknown, and overall understanding of the phenomenon is lacking. The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of community-dwelling Tai Chi practitioners through a qualitative study, detailing its social and personal appeal, the reasons for their continued involvement, its symbolic meanings, and its impact on their lives. Utilizing the grounded theory method and dimensional analysis, in-depth interview data from 23 practitioners, aged 49-82 were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed to derive a grounded theory. A theoretical model, transformation with moving meditation was developed, reflecting the internal and external changes that occurred with their experience of Tai Chi. The following dimensions were identified: seeking wellness and meaning, beginning a Tai Chi path, cultivating new perspectives, and finding Natural wholeness now. Initially, the majority of informants sought wellness and meaning with minimal expectations from Tai Chi. However, the learning process and practice demanded cultivating new perspectives, such as centering, letting go, and changing. As they explored Tai Chi's multiplicity, including its philosophy, they experienced changes in lifestyles, their views of self and the world. They increased their capacity to live in the present moment, transferring the practice of moving meditation into their daily lives. Tai Chi acted as a conduit for a continuing self-transformation process. The study also found that Tai Chi had numerous symbolic meanings that were directly linked to their changes. Finding Natural wholeness now was experienced by these practitioners through stillness in motion, living in the present, and experiencing a sense of well-being. These practitioners experienced Tai Chi as a process, integral to their life journey, giving them a sense of spiritual and social connectedness. Implications for further research include refinement and testing of the model with varying age groups, types of Tai Chi in different settings and with populations experiencing various types of chronic illness.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons