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Open AccessReview

Status of Theory Use in Self-Care Research

Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linkoping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Mary McKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne 3000, Australia
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, 00133 Roma, Italy
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
Ecare4you, 3811 BJ Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Department of Cardiology, Linkoping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9480;
Received: 26 October 2020 / Revised: 1 December 2020 / Accepted: 11 December 2020 / Published: 17 December 2020
Background: Theories can provide a foundation to explain behavior, investigate relationships, and to predict the effect of interventions. The aim of the study was to clarify the use of theories in studies testing interventions to promote self-care. Method: A scoping review. PubMed, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and CINAHL were searched from January 2008 through January 2019. Nine common chronic conditions were included. We included studies testing a self-care intervention if they used a randomized controlled trial design. The study was registered in PROSPERO (#123719). Results: The search retrieved 9309 potential studies, of which 233 were included in the review. In total, 76 (33%) of the 233 studies used a theory and 24 different theories were used. Bandura’s social cognitive theory was the most frequently used (48 studies), but 22 other theories were used in a minority of studies. Most studies used theories minimally to justify or provide a rationale for the study, to develop the intervention, to select outcomes, and/or to explain the results. Only eight studies fully used a theory in the rationale, intervention development, choice of outcomes, and discussion. Conclusion: The use of theories to guide self-care research is limited, which may pose a barrier in accumulating knowledge underlying self-care interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-care; self-management; interventions; research; theory; chronic conditions; interventions; scoping review self-care; self-management; interventions; research; theory; chronic conditions; interventions; scoping review
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jaarsma, T.; Westland, H.; Vellone, E.; Freedland, K.E.; Schröder, C.; Trappenburg, J.C.A.; Strömberg, A.; Riegel, B. Status of Theory Use in Self-Care Research. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9480.

AMA Style

Jaarsma T, Westland H, Vellone E, Freedland KE, Schröder C, Trappenburg JCA, Strömberg A, Riegel B. Status of Theory Use in Self-Care Research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9480.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jaarsma, Tiny; Westland, Heleen; Vellone, Ercole; Freedland, Kenneth E.; Schröder, Carin; Trappenburg, Jaap C.A.; Strömberg, Anna; Riegel, Barbara. 2020. "Status of Theory Use in Self-Care Research" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 24: 9480.

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