Content and characteristics of goals created during a self-management intervention for people with epilepsy

J Neurosci Nurs. 2009 Dec;41(6):312-21. doi: 10.1097/jnn.0b013e3181b6bec5.


Goals are presented in the chronic illness literature as effective strategies to help people adopt self-management behaviors; however, not much is known about the types and characteristics of individuals' goals. The purpose of this study was to examine goal setting among people with epilepsy who participated in the WebEase program. WebEase is an Internet-based, theory-driven, self-management program with modules on medication adherence, stress management, and sleep habits. Participants had the opportunity to create and evaluate goals over the course of 6 weeks, with 2 weeks for each module. The goals were analyzed using three dimensions: content, specificity, and proximity. Most participants in the sample wrote goals for each week of the program. Several main content areas emerged within the modules. Goal quality, measured by specificity and proximity, did not differ according to readiness for behavior change. Readiness to change did not differ between those who wrote a goal and those who did not. The diversity of goal content and quality indicates that individuals should be supported in goal development and encouraged to set their own self-management goals, regardless of their readiness for behavior change.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / prevention & control*
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Internet / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Patient Care Planning / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Patient Participation* / methods
  • Patient Participation* / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Care* / methods
  • Self Care* / psychology
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / organization & administration*