Purpose: Self-management is a dynamic process in which individuals actively manage a chronic illness. Self-management models are limited in their specification of the processes of self-management. The purpose of this article is to delineate processes of self-management in order to help direct interventions and improve health outcomes for individuals with a chronic illness.
Design: Qualitative metasynthesis techniques were used to analyze 101 studies published between January 2000 and April 2011 that described processes of self-management in chronic illness.
Methods: Self-management processes were extracted from each article and were coded. Similar codes were clustered into categories. The analysis continued until a final categorization was reached.
Findings: Three categories of self-management processes were identified: focusing on illness needs; activating resources; and living with a chronic illness. Tasks and skills were delineated for each category.
Conclusions: This metasynthesis expands on current descriptions of self-management processes by specifying a more complete spectrum of self-management processes.
Clinical Relevance: Healthcare providers can best facilitate self-management by coordinating self-management activities, by recognizing that different self-management processes vary in importance to patients over time, and by having ongoing communication with patients and providers to create appropriate self-management plans.