related problem solving and decision making. Self-management support programs for a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and arthritis, have been shown to reduce pain and disability, lessen fatigue, decrease needed visits to physicians and emergency rooms, and increase self-reported energy and health. These improvements in health outcomes are strongly associated with increased self-efficacy (Bodenheimer et al., 2002a; Lorig and Holman, 2003; Lorig et al., 2001).4

Components of illness self-management for individuals with chronic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar illness (i.e., psychoeducation, behavioral practices to support taking medications appropriately, relapse prevention, and teaching of coping skills and actions to alleviate symptoms) also have been developed, tested, and found effective in addressing many of the behaviors necessary for patient recovery (Mueser et al., 2002). A standardized approach for illness self-management has been developed and empirically validated by Stanford University (Stanford University School of Medicine, 2005). Illness self-management also is included as one of the six essential components of the Chronic Care Model (Bodenheimer et al., 2002b), which is discussed in Chapter 5 and is achieving improved health outcomes for a variety of physical and mental illnesses.

Weakened Patient Activation and Self-Determination

Self-efficacy and self-management also are related to the concepts of “patient activation” and “patient self-determination.” “Patient activation” refers to the constellation of skills, knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors necessary for an individual to manage a chronic illness successfully (Von Korff et al., 1997). An “activated” patient also is one of the key elements of the Chronic Care Model (Bodenheimer et al., 2002a). Self-determination theory is concerned with individuals’ innate inner resources for personality development and behavioral regulation and how these resources are influenced by social contexts so as to affect human motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Research in this area has established the central importance to self-determination of three innate psychological needs: self-perceived competence (self-efficacy, discussed above), autonomy, and relatedness. This research also has shown that people must perceive themselves as competent


A recent analysis of self-management education programs (Warsi et al., 2004) found a small to moderate effect on outcomes for some clinical conditions (diabetes and hypertension) but no significant consistent benefit for asthma programs. This same analysis noted wide variation in the methodologies used and inconsistent reporting of measures of self-efficacy in these programs. Experts caution that many programs calling themselves self-management programs do not teach all the core skills involved and fail to address the necessary scope of issues (Lorig and Holman, 2003).

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement