Self-management in patients with COPD: theoretical context, content, outcomes, and integration into clinical care

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2014 Sep 1;9:907-17. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S49622. eCollection 2014.


In this narrative review, we put self-management in the context of a 50-year history of research about how patients with COPD respond to their illness. We review a definition of self-management, and emphasize that self-management should be combined with disease management and the chronic care model in order to be effective. Reviewing the empirical status of self-management in COPD, we conclude that self-management is part and parcel of modern, patient-oriented biopsychosocial care. In pulmonary rehabilitation programs, self-management is instrumental in improving patients' functional status and quality of life. We conclude by emphasizing how studying the way persons with COPD make sense of their illness helps in refining self-management, and thereby patient-reported outcomes in COPD.

Keywords: biopsychosocial model; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; medical humanities; psychology; quality of life; self-management.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / history
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care* / history
  • Treatment Outcome