Relationship between illness representation and self-efficacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Aim.  This paper reports a patient survey exploring the possible relationship between illness perception and self-efficacy following a cardiac event, and the implications this could have for nursing practice.

Background.  Cardiac rehabilitation guidelines endorse the need to improve psychological care; suggesting that individualized support will improve the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation. Surveys, however, continue to identify that psychosocial factors are poorly assessed. Illness representation and self-efficacy are two prominent research approaches that have been developed as separate foci for the treatment of patients.

Method.  A cross-sectional survey with patients diagnosed with either myocardial infarction or angina over an 8-month period in two hospitals. The Illness Perception Questionnaire, General Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, Cardiac Diet Self-efficacy Instrument and Cardiac Exercise Self-efficacy Instrument were used, alongside two specifically-designed scales: the Diet Outcome Expectation and Exercise Outcome Expectation Scales.

Results.  The results indicate that there is a significant relationship between illness perception and self-efficacy. The greater patients’ perceived consequences of the heart condition, the lower was the general self-efficacy available to cope with the condition. Further, the longer the perceived time the condition will affect the patient, the higher the specific self-efficacy to maintain a change of diet or exercise regime.

Conclusion.  The findings identify that, in the initial phase of recovery, nursing practice needs to focus on the key variables of ‘consequence’ and ‘timeline’ in order to increase patients’ confidence in their ability to cope (self-efficacy).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between illness representation and self-efficacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this