Models for Self-Care Confidence in Chronic Disease Management

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The purpose of this research was to analyze characteristics associated with adults’ self-care confidence to manage diabetes and heart disease. Method: Using 2015 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, the study examined self-care confidence levels of 2,560 adults with diabetes and 1,769 adults with heart disease. Chi-square tests calculated differences for six variables: gender, age, education, recent online health information searching, self-reported health status, and physical activity limitations. Characteristics of very confident individuals were compared to those feeling less empowered to manage their health. Results: CHIS data showed a lack of full self-care confidence in over a third of surveyed individuals: 39 percent of diabetics, and 41 percent of individuals with heart disease. Better self-reported health status correlated with increased self-care confidence. Women and those with physical activity limitations were significantly less confident than men or people without disabilities. Conclusion: Individuals with diabetes or heart disease have a considerable risk of not feeling confident about their ability to manage their diseases. Implications: Health care professionals should identify individuals with an increased risk for feeling insecure about managing their health. In particular, women, individuals who consider themselves in poor or fair health, and individuals with physical activity limitations should be assessed for self-care confidence soon after diagnosis and monitored at regular intervals.