Self-management education: history, definition, outcomes, and mechanisms

Ann Behav Med. 2003 Aug;26(1):1-7. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2601_01.


Self-management has become a popular term for behavioral interventions as well as for healthful behaviors. This is especially true for the management of chronic conditions. This article offers a short history of self-management. It presents three self-management tasks--medical management, role management, and emotional management--and six self-management skills--problem solving, decision making, resource utilization, the formation of a patient-provider partnership, action planning, and self-tailoring. In addition, the article presents evidence of the effectiveness of self-management interventions and posits a possible mechanism, self-efficacy, through which these interventions work. In conclusion the article discusses problems and solutions for integrating self-management education into the mainstream health care systems.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Medicine / methods*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / standards
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • United States