Although past research has examined self-management among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), little is known about self-management in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In this cross-sectional survey (no intervention), 174 patients with CKD (serum creatinine > or =1.7 mg/dL) completed self-reported measures of self-efficacy, physical and mental functioning, and self-management. The purpose of the study was to explore the association between patients' perceived self-efficacy and their self-management behaviors. Five types of self-management behaviors were measured: communication with caregivers, partnership in care, self-care, self-advocacy, and medication adherence. Controlling for other relevant variables including age, education, diabetic status, hypertension, serum creatinine, physical functioning, and mental health functioning, higher perceived self-efficacy scores were associated with increased communication, partnership, self-care, and medication-adherence behaviors. In this study, patients' perceived self-efficacy was a more consistent correlate of self-management behavior than were demographic or health characteristics. Because self-management has been associated with positive patient outcomes, fostering self-management by supporting patient self-efficacy may have long-term benefits.