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Delineating the concept of self-management in chronic conditions: a concept analysis
  1. Dominique Van de Velde1,2,
  2. Freya De Zutter1,
  3. Ton Satink3,
  4. Ursula Costa4,
  5. Sara Janquart1,
  6. Daniela Senn5,
  7. Patricia De Vriendt1,2,6
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  2. 2Occupational Therapy, Artevelde University College, Ghent, Belgium
  3. 3Occupational Therapy, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  4. 4Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, Health University of Applied Science Tyrol, Innsbruck, Austria
  5. 5Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
  6. 6Department of Gerontology and Frailty in Ageing Research Group, Vrije Universiteit, Brussel, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Dr. Dominique Van de Velde; dominique.vandevelde{at}


Objectives Self-management is a concept frequently used within healthcare but lacks consensus. It is the aim of this study to clarify the concept.

Design Concept analysis according to Walker and Avant, comprises eight steps: select concept, determine purpose, identify uses, determine defining attributes, identify model case, identify additional cases, identify antecedents and consequences and define empirical referents. Sources used: PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science.

Results Ten attributes delineating the concept have been identified and organised into three groups. Group (a): person-oriented attributes: the person must (1) actively take part in the care process, (2) take responsibility for the care process and (3) have a positive way of coping with adversity. Group (b): person-environment-oriented attributes: (4) the person must be informed about the condition, disease and treatment and self-management, (5) should be individualised, which entails expressing needs, values and priorities, (6) requires openness to ensure a reciprocal partnership with healthcare providers and (7) demands openness to social support. Finally, Group (c): summarising attributes: self-management (8) is a lifetime task, (9) assumes personal skills and (10) encompasses the medical, role and emotional management.

Conclusions The findings of this study recognise the complexity of the concept, but also show the need for further investigation to make the concept more measurable. Clarity about the concept will enhance understanding and facilitate implementation in self-management programmes for chronic conditions.

  • self-management
  • health
  • chronic conditions
  • concept analysis

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  • DVDV and FDZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors DVdV and FDZ led the writing of the manuscript. DVdV, FDZ and SJ analysed and interpreted the data. FDZ and SJ had substantial contribution in data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. DVdV and PDV had substantial contribution in the study conception and design, data analysis and interpretation. UC, DS and TS served as external experts to increase the credibility of the findings. All authors revised and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no additional data in this study.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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