Factors related to positive attitudes toward palliative care: Direct and indirect effects of self-care self-efficacy, knowledge, and beliefs

Palliat Support Care. 2022 Jul 27:1-7. doi: 10.1017/S1478951522000864. Online ahead of print.


Context: Knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes toward palliative care (PC) constitute barriers to its access. Few studies have focused on the intrinsic relationship between these variables, and none has examined the relationship between them and self-care self-efficacy.

Objective: To examine the direct and indirect effects of self-care self-efficacy, knowledge, and beliefs on attitudes toward PC.

Methods: A cross-sectional predictive study was conducted. Self-care self-efficacy, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about PC were analyzed using information from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5, cycle 2, 2018). Data from 1,162 participants were considered. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to represent the statistical mediation model with latent and observable variables.

Results: The structural model presents positive coefficients indicating that self-care self-efficacy significantly predicts knowledge (β = 0.127, p < 0.001) and beliefs (β = 0.078, p = 0.023). Similarly, knowledge is associated with attitudes (β = 0.179, p < 0.001) and beliefs (β = 0.213, p < 0.001). The beliefs measure is also significantly related to attitudes (β = 0.474, p < 0.001). In addition, this structural multiple mediation model shows optimal goodness-of-fit indices: χ2/df = 3.49, CFI = 0.983, TLI = 0.976, RMSEA = 0.046 [90% CI: 0.037-0.056], SRMR = 0.038.

Conclusion: Self-care self-efficacy is significantly associated with knowledge and beliefs about PC, which in turn are related to each other. Altogether, these variables predict positive attitudes toward PC. Understanding the relationship between these variables is relevant for targeting-specific populations and designing timely strategies to improve access to PC.

Keywords: Attitudes; Beliefs; Knowledge; Palliative care; Self-care self-efficacy.