Social Support Predicts Self-Care Confidence in Patients with Heart Failure
Circulatory and Respiratory Physiology
Medicine and Health Sciences
Background: Self-care for patients with heart failure includes engaging in behaviours that maintain medical stability and manage problematic symptoms, as well as the confidence in one’s ability to carry out such behaviours. Given the social context of self-care behaviours in heart failure, there has been increasing interest in social support as a predictor of self-care. Aim: The goal of the present study was to examine the role of social support in self-care across time for persons with heart failure. Methods: Using data from an observational study of patients with chronic heart failure (n = 280), we examined the role of three types of support – instrumental support, emotional support and assistance with self-care – in the longitudinal course of self-care maintenance, management and confidence. Self-report questionnaire data were collected at baseline and at three and six months later. Results: We found that instrumental and emotional support predicted better self-care confidence on average and that self-care confidence improved at a faster rate for those with less instrumental support. Emotional support was positively associated with self-care management and self-care confidence, and assistance with self-care was positively associated with self-care maintenance. Conclusion: These findings highlight the contribution of social support to self-care in heart failure and provide guidance for future family-based interventions to improve self-care.