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Despite similar health problems, older persons show different care seeking behaviours for a variety of reasons. The aim of this study was to identify motives underlying the attitudes of older persons to seek nursing care and to develop a theoretical rationale which allows viewing their mutual interaction. Theory development according to Walker and Avant was used as a method to derive a model from the reviewed literature. Six categories were identified that may influence seeking of nursing care: perceived threat, disposition, external options & barriers, current coping abilities, influence of significant others, and outcome value. Findings do not allow determination of factors that may predict care seeking attitude but provide a loosely structured conceptual model for culture specific investigations. Qualitative studies guided by the model should be conducted in order to develop testable theories of care seeking for different cultures and settings.