Applying A Biopsychosocial Framework to Achieve Durable Behavior Change in Kidney Disease

Semin Nephrol. 2021 Nov;41(6):487-504. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2021.10.002.


Chronic disease self-management is the establishment and maintenance of behaviors needed to be an active participant in one's health care and experience the best health outcomes. Kidney disease self-management behaviors to slow disease progression include engaging in exercise or physical activity; adhering to a diet low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus; monitoring laboratory parameters; managing complex medication regimens; coping with disease-related emotional distress; and communicating effectively with providers. Durable behavior change has been difficult to achieve in kidney disease, in part because of an incomplete understanding of the multilevel factors determining chronic disease self-management in this patient group. The biopsychosocial model of chronic illness care posits that an individual's health outcomes result from biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors as part of a multilevel systems hierarchy. Although this theoretical model has been used to comprehensively identify factors driving self-management in other chronic conditions, it has been applied infrequently to behavioral interventions in kidney disease. In this scoping review, we apply the biopsychosocial model of health to identify individual, interpersonal, and systems-level drivers of kidney disease self-management behaviors. We further highlight factors that may serve as novel, impactful targets of theory-based behavioral interventions to understand and sustain behavior change in kidney disease.

Keywords: Kidney disease self-management behaviors; biopsychosocial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases*
  • Male
  • Psychological Distress*