Age-related Differences in Self-management Support Needs of Chronically ill People Explained by Their Life Context


  • L. van Houtum
  • M.Rijken
  • T. Huijts
  • P. Groenewegen


Background Current self-management support (SMS) programmes pay little attention to patients’ age and related life context. The aim of is study is to examine age-related differences in SMS needs by applying the stress-coping theory. We explore the role of three concepts that relate to patients’ age and that may impact on their SMS needs: burden of illness, social roles and resources. Methods Logistic regression analyses were conducted using data on SMS needs, burden of illness (e.g. type of illness, physical functioning), social roles and resources (educational level, health literacy) of 1,782 patients with chronic disease(s) who participated in a nationwide Dutch panel-study. Findings Age is positively related to the need for SMS regarding medical management, coping with the consequences of having an chronic illness and communicating with healthcare providers. SMS needs regarding making lifestyle changes are not related to age. Age-related differences in SMS needs can be explained by patients’ social roles and especially by their burden of illness. Discussion This study shows that there is a an urge for tailored interventions, which take the life context of patients into account.






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