Delineation of self-care and associated concepts

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2011 Sep;43(3):255-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2011.01404.x. Epub 2011 Jul 25.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to delineate five concepts that are often used synonymously in the nursing and related literature: self-care, self-management, self-monitoring, symptom management, and self-efficacy for self-care.

Method: Concepts were delineated based on a review of literature, identification of relationships, and examination of commonalities and differences.

Findings: More commonalities than differences exist among self-care, self-management, and self-monitoring. Symptom management extends beyond the self-care concepts to include healthcare provider activities. Self-efficacy can mediate or moderate the four other concepts. Relationships among the concepts are depicted in a model.

Conclusions: A clearer understanding of the overlap, differences, and relationships among the five concepts can provide clarity, direction and specificity to nurse researchers, policy makers, and clinicians in addressing their goals for health delivery.

Clinical relevance: Concept clarity enables nurses to use evidence that targets specific interventions to individualize care toward achieving the most relevant goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Evidence-Based Nursing
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing
  • Self Care*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Terminology as Topic*