Article Research| Volume 57, ISSUE 4, P217-225.e6, July 2009

The Individual and Family Self-Management Theory: Background and perspectives on context, process, and outcomes

      Current evidence indicates that individuals and families who engage in self-management (SM) behaviors improve their health outcomes. While the results of these studies are promising, there is little agreement as to the critical components of SM or directions for future study. This article offers an organized perspective of similar and divergent ideas related to SM. Unique contributions of prior work are highlighted and findings from studies are summarized. A new descriptive mid-range theory, Individual and Family Self-management Theory, is presented; assumptions are identified, concepts defined, and proposed relationships are outlined. This theory adds to the literature on SM by focusing on individuals, dyads within the family, or the family unit as a whole; explicating process components of SM; and proposing use of proximal and distal outcomes.
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      Polly Ryan, PhD, RN, CNS-BC, is an Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Center Scientist, Self-management Science Center, Milwaukee, WI.


      Kathleen J. Sawin, DNS, CPNP, FAAN, is a Professor and Joint Research Chair in the Nursing of Children, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Center Scientist, Self-management Science Center, Milwaukee, WI.