One hundred and ninety-nine patients and their primary caregivers at two metropolitan cystic fibrosis centers participated in a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a health education program designed to help improve self-management skills for the care of CF. The baseline data from the study was used to test a structural model that hypothesized the relationship between educational, behavioral, and health status variables. Controlling for the effects of all other variables, including demographic, self-efficacy (confidence in being able to perform a behavior) was the most important educational factor predicting self-management behavior for monitoring and treating respiratory problems. Knowledge about the management of CF was only related to the ability of caretakers to apply coping skills to problems associated with CF. The more caretakers reported performing monitoring behaviors the more likely they were to report performing self-management treatment behaviors. The findings suggest that educational interventions that focus on increased knowledge alone are not likely to be effective in improving self-management behavior for CF. Based on the structural model analyses, it is recommended that educational programs for CF patients and families address increased self-efficacy and improved monitoring skills to influence the improvement of self-management treatment for CF.