Illness Representations and Self-Care Behavior of Patients with Heart Failure

Sunday, 27 July 2014: 1:35 PM

Jen-Chen Tsai, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Yen-Ting Wang, RN, MSN
Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Pei-Shan Tsai, PhD
Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan


The purpose of this presentation is to investigate the relationship between illness representations and self-care behaviors of patients with heart failure and to identify important factors related to illness representations and self-care behaviors among these patients.


This study was conducted based on the self-regulation model. Patients with heart failure were recruited from a medical center in northern Taiwan. A descriptive correlational research design was used. Three questionnaires were administered to the study participants, including the illness representations questionnaire-revised (IPQ-R), the heart failure symptoms experience questionnaire, and the self-care behaviors questionnaires. Data were analyzed using independent t-test, Pearson’s correlations and hierarchical regression.


A total of 100 patients completed this study (mean age = 64.7±12.3). Age, education levels, and cardiac functional class were significant correlates of illness representation experienced by patients with heart failure. Emotional representation and perceived control of the illness were significantly related to self-care behaviors. Hierarchical regression analyses showed perceived personal control of the illness was the most powerful predictor, explaining 27% of the variance of self-care behaviors in patients with heart failure.


Patients may show better self-care behaviors if they perceived greater personal control for their diseases. Results of this study suggest that the development of personalized health education or intervention programs is needed to promote illness representations of patients with heart failure.