Illness beliefs predict self-care behaviours in patients with diabetic foot ulcers: A prospective study

Kavita Vedhara, Karen Dawe, Mark A. Wetherell, Jeremy N V Miles, Nicky Cullum, Colin Dayan, Nicola Drake, Patricia Price, John Tarlton, John Weinman, Andrew Day, Rona Campbell

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    Aims: Patients' illness beliefs are known to be influential determinants of self-care behaviours in many chronic conditions. In a prospective observational study we examined their role in predicting foot self-care behaviours in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Methods: Patients (n = 169) were recruited from outpatient podiatry clinics. Clinical and demographic factors, illness beliefs and foot self-care behaviours were assessed as baseline (week 0). Foot self-care behaviours were assessed again 6, 12 and 24 weeks later. Linear regressions examined the contribution of beliefs at baseline to subsequent foot self-care behaviours, controlling for past behaviour (i.e., foot self-care at baseline) and clinical and demographic factors that may affect foot self-care (i.e., age and ulcer size). Results: Our models accounted for between 42 and 58% of the variance in foot self-care behaviours. Even after controlling for past foot-care behaviours, age and ulcer size; patients' beliefs regarding the symptoms associated with ulceration, their understanding of ulceration and their perceived personal control over ulceration emerged as independent determinants of foot self-care. Conclusions: Patients' beliefs are important determinants of foot-care practices. They may, therefore, also be influential in determining ulcer outcomes. Interventions aimed at modifying illness beliefs may offer a means for promoting self-care and improving ulcer outcomes. © 2014.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Diabetic foot ulcers
    • Illness beliefs
    • Self-care behaviours
    • Self-management


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