Processes of Self-Management in Chronic Illness

Dena Schulman-Green, Sarah Jaser, Faith Martin, Angelo Alonzo, Margaret Grey, Ruth Mccorkle, Nancy S. Redeker, Nancy Reynolds, Robin Whittemore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Self-management is a dynamic process in which individuals actively manage a chronic illness. Self-management models are limited in their specification of the processes of self-management. The purpose of this article is to delineate processes of self-management in order to help direct interventions and improve health outcomes for individuals with a chronic illness. Design: Qualitative metasynthesis techniques were used to analyze 101 studies published between January 2000 and April 2011 that described processes of self-management in chronic illness. Methods: Self-management processes were extracted from each article and were coded. Similar codes were clustered into categories. The analysis continued until a final categorization was reached. Findings: Three categories of self-management processes were identified: focusing on illness needs; activating resources; and living with a chronic illness. Tasks and skills were delineated for each category. Conclusions: This metasynthesis expands on current descriptions of self-management processes by specifying a more complete spectrum of self-management processes. Clinical Relevance: Healthcare providers can best facilitate self-management by coordinating self-management activities, by recognizing that different self-management processes vary in importance to patients over time, and by having ongoing communication with patients and providers to create appropriate self-management plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Chronic illness
  • Metasynthesis
  • Processes
  • Qualitative
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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