Objective: To quantify the benefits that people receive from participating in self-management courses and identify subgroups that benefit most.
Methods: People with a wide range of chronic conditions attending self-management courses (N = 1341 individuals) were administered the Health Education Impact Questionnaire (heiQ). Baseline and follow-up data were collected resulting in 842 complete responses. Outcomes were categorized as substantial improvement (effect size, ES > or = 0.5), minimal/no change (ES -0.49 to 0.49) and substantial decline (ES < or = -0.5).
Results: On average, one third of participants reported substantial benefits at the end of a course and this ranged from 49% in the heiQ subscale Skill and technique acquisition to 27% in the heiQ subscale Health service navigation. Stratification by gender, age and education showed that younger participants were more likely to benefit, particularly young women. No further subgroup differences were observed.
Conclusion: While the well-being of people with chronic diseases tends to decline, about one third of participants from a wide range of backgrounds show substantial improvements in a range of skills that enable them to self-manage.
Practice implications: These data support the application of self-management courses indicating that they are a useful adjunct to usual care for a modest proportion of attendees.