A test of the self-help model: Learned response to chronic illness experience

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86 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of the essential dynamics of learned response to chronic illness experience. A Self-Help Model was tested with 396 subjects with diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis or arthritis-related conditions. Self-Help Model variables include disease characteristics, background inputs, monitoring, severity of illness, dependency, uncertainty, enabling skill, self-help, and life quality. Severity of illness, disease characteristics, background inputs, and monitoring explained 24% of the variance in dependency and 40% of the variance in uncertainty. Monitoring was the strongest contributor to explanation of enabling skill; however, only a small amount of the variance in enabling skill was explained, adjusted R2=.15. Enabling skill was the strongest predictor of self-help, β =.42, minimizing the influence of uncertainty, β =.23 and dependency, β =,.10, on self-help, R2=.55. Self-help was strongly related to life quality, β =.62. Self-help and uncertainty explained 49% of the variance in life quality. Results suggest a basis for interventions that reduce dependency and uncertainty and enhance enabling skill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalNursing research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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