The Individual and Family Self-Management Theory: background and perspectives on context, process, and outcomes

Nurs Outlook. Jul-Aug 2009;57(4):217-225.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2008.10.004.


Current evidence indicates that individuals and families who engage in self-management (SM) behaviors improve their health outcomes. While the results of these studies are promising, there is little agreement as to the critical components of SM or directions for future study. This article offers an organized perspective of similar and divergent ideas related to SM. Unique contributions of prior work are highlighted and findings from studies are summarized. A new descriptive mid-range theory, Individual and Family Self-management Theory, is presented; assumptions are identified, concepts defined, and proposed relationships are outlined. This theory adds to the literature on SM by focusing on individuals, dyads within the family, or the family unit as a whole; explicating process components of SM; and proposing use of proximal and distal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease* / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease* / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Family Health
  • Health Status
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Life Style
  • Nursing Research / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Theory*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy