Aim: This paper reports a concept analysis delineating and clarifying the concept of self-monitoring to facilitate development and evaluation of interventions to enhance self-monitoring.
Background: The concepts of self-monitoring, self-management, self-care and symptom management are often used in similar or interchangeable ways. Clarification of the concept of self-monitoring is needed for research and theory development.
Method: Rodgers and Knafl's evolutionary concept analysis process was used to delineate and clarify the concept. The PubMed and CINAHL databases were searched using keywords 'self-monitoring', 'self-management' and 'self-care' (with and without the hyphen) for the years 1998-2005, to update a previous study (not published). Later, searching was refined and the keyword 'self-monitoring' was paired with 'awareness' and 'self-regulation' was added. Approximately half the papers were from nursing (n = 34) and half from other disciplines (n = 32). The sample from 1998 to 2005 was further stratified by chronic condition. Definition, exemplars, usage, attributes, antecedents/consequences and implications for further study were identified.
Findings: Self-monitoring was composed of two complementary components (attributes): (1) awareness of bodily symptoms, sensations, daily activities, and cognitive processes and (2) measurements, recordings and observations that inform cognition or provide information for independent action or consultation with care providers.
Conclusion: Self-monitoring may be an important concept for understanding how people self-manage chronic conditions. This concept analysis may be useful for researchers who wish to measure this dimension and to develop nursing theory in this area.