Aim: This paper is a report of a study to assess the effect of an adapted arthritis self-management programme with an added focus on exercise practice among osteoarthritic knee sufferers.
Background: Osteoarthritis of the knee is a major source of loss of function in older people. Previous studies have found self-management programmes to be effective in increasing arthritis self-efficacy and in mastery of self-management practice.
Method: A randomized control trial was carried out from December 2002 to May 2003 and 120 participants (65.9%, including 67 in intervention group and 53 in control group) completed the 16-week postintervention assessments. Outcome measures included arthritis self-efficacy, use of self-management techniques, pain intensity and daily activity.
Findings: At 16 weeks, there was a 'statistically' significant improvement in the arthritis self-efficacy level (P <or= 0.001), in most of the self-management skills, i.e. use of cold and hot compresses, in two of three joint protective practices (P <or= 0.001; P = 0.01), an increase in the duration of light exercise practice (P <or= 0.001), reduction of current arthritis pain (P <or= 0.001) and in the ability to perform daily activities (P <or= 0.001) among the intervention group but not for the control group (P-range from 0.04 to 0.95). One joint protective practice showed a statistically significant increase in both groups (P <or= 0.001).
Conclusion: Our findings add to evidence showing short-term beneficial effects of self-efficacy theory in education programmes. Self-efficacy theory has great potential for empowering sufferers of chronic conditions to live with their illness.