Gender Diferences in Heart Failure Self-Care: A Multinational Cross-Sectional Study
Background Despite a common view that women are better at self-care, there is very little evidence to support or challenge this perspective in the heart failure (HF) population. Objective The purpose of this study was to determine if there are cross-cultural gender differences in self-reported HF self-care and to describe gender differences in the determinants of HF self-care. Design, setting, and participants A secondary analysis was completed of cross-sectional study data collected on 2082 adults with chronic HF from the United States, Australia and Thailand. Methods Comparisons were made between men and women regarding self-care maintenance, management and confidence as assessed by the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index, as well as the proportion of subjects engaged in adequate self-care. Multivariate comparisons were made to determine if gender explained sufficient variance in HF self-care and the likelihood of reporting adequate self-care, controlling for nine model covariates. Results The sample was comprised of 1306 men and 776 women. Most (73.5%) had systolic or mixed systolic and diastolic HF and 45% had New York Heart Association class III or IV HF. Although small and clinically insignificant gender differences were found in self-care maintenance, gender was not a determinant of any aspect of HF self-care in multivariate models. Married women were 37% less likely to report adequate self-care maintenance than unmarried women. Comorbidities only influenced the HF self-care of men. Being newly diagnosed with HF also primarily affected men. Patients with diastolic HF (predominantly women) had poorer self-care maintenance and less confidence in self-care. Conclusion Differences in HF self-care are attributable to factors other than gender; however, there are several gender-specific determinants of HF self-care that help identify patients at risk for practicing poor self-care.