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Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a community-based Chronic Disease Self-management Course (CDC) for UK participants with a range of chronic diseases.

Design: The study was a multiple baseline, pre-test post test design with a sample of 185 participants who attended a CDC delivered in community settings by lay tutors, in the UK.

Method: Data were collected by self-completed questionnaires before attendance and at four-month follow-up.

Results: The sample comprised 72% women (mean age = 53 years, mean disease duration = 16 years). The main chronic diseases included endometriosis, depression, diabetes, myalgic encephalomyelitis, osteoporosis and polio. Adjusting for baseline values and gender, small to moderate increases were found on cognitive symptom management, self-efficacy (disease and symptoms) and communication with physician. A similar sized decrease was found on fatigue, and small decreases were evident on anxious and depressed moods, and health distress. There were no changes in the use of health care resources, or on self-reported exercise behaviour.

Conclusion: The results of this exploratory study suggest that self-management training for people with chronic diseases can offer benefits in terms of enhanced self-efficacy, greater use of cognitive behavioural techniques, and improvement in some aspects of physical and psychological well-being.