A substantial proportion of chronic disease patients do not respond to self-management interventions, which suggests that one size interventions do not fit all, demanding more tailored interventions. To compose more individualized strategies, we aim to increase our understanding of characteristics associated with patient activation for self-management and to evaluate whether these are disease-transcending. A cross-sectional survey study was conducted in primary and secondary care in patients with type-2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM-II), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) and Chronic Renal Disease (CRD). Using multiple linear regression analysis, we analyzed associations between self-management activation (13-item Patient Activation Measure; PAM-13) and a wide range of socio-demographic, clinical, and psychosocial determinants. Furthermore, we assessed whether the associations between the determinants and the PAM were disease-transcending by testing whether disease was an effect modifier. In addition, we identified determinants associated with low activation for self-management using logistic regression analysis. We included 1154 patients (53% response rate); 422 DM-II patients, 290 COPD patients, 223 HF patients and 219 CRD patients. Mean age was 69.6±10.9. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed 9 explanatory determinants of activation for self-management: age, BMI, educational level, financial distress, physical health status, depression, illness perception, social support and underlying disease, explaining a variance of 16.3%. All associations, except for social support, were disease transcending. This study explored factors associated with varying levels of activation for self-management. These results are a first step in supporting clinicians and researchers to identify subpopulations of chronic disease patients less likely to be engaged in self-management. Increased scientific efforts are needed to explain the greater part of the factors that contribute to the complex nature of patient activation for self-management.