Illness perception, health literacy, self-efficacy, adherence and quality of life in patients with intermittent claudication - a longitudinal cohort study

BMC Nurs. 2023 May 17;22(1):167. doi: 10.1186/s12912-023-01329-2.

Abstract

Background: Patients with intermittent claudication need lifelong treatment with secondary prevention to prevent cardiovascular events and progression of atherosclerotic disease. Illness perception, health literacy, self-efficacy, adherence to medication treatment, and quality of life are factors influencing patients' self-management. Knowledge of these factors could be important when planning for secondary prevention in patients with intermittent claudication.

Aim: to compare illness perception, health literacy, self-efficacy, adherence to treatment, and quality of life in in patients with intermittent claudication.

Methods: A longitudinal cohort study was conducted with 128 participants recruited from vascular units in southern Sweden. Data were collected through medical records and questionnaires regarding illness perception, health literacy, self-efficacy, adherence to treatment, and quality of life.

Results: In the subscales in illness perception, patients with sufficient health literacy reported less consequences and lower emotional representations of the intermittent claudication. They also reported higher self-efficacy and higher quality of life than patients with insufficient health literacy. In comparison between men and women in illness perception, women reported higher illness coherence and emotional representations associated with intermittent claudication compared to men. A multiple regression showed that both consequences and adherence were negative predictors of quality of life. When examining changes over time, a significant increase in quality of life was seen between baseline and 12 months, but there were no significant differences in self-efficacy..

Conclusion: Illness perception differs in relation to level of health literacy and between men and women. Further, the level of health literacy seems to be of importance for patients' self-efficacy and quality of life. This illuminates the need for new strategies for improving health literacy, illness perception, and self-efficacy over time. For example, more tailored information regarding secondary prevention could be provided to strengthen self-management to further improve quality of life in patients with intermittent claudication.

Keywords: Adherence to treatment; Health literacy; Illness perception; Intermittent claudication; Quality of life; Secondary prevention; Self-efficacy.