National Study of Chronic Disease Self-Management: Age Comparison of Outcome Findings


Introduction. The adult population is increasingly experiencing one or more chronic illnesses and living with such conditions longer. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) helps participants cope with chronic disease-related symptomatology and improve their health-related quality of life. Nevertheless, the long-term effectiveness of this evidence-based program on older adults as compared to the middle-aged populations has not been examined in a large-scale, national rollout. Method. We identified baseline characteristics of CDSMP participants aged 65 years or older (n = 687, M = 74.8 years) in the National Study of CDSMP from 2010 to 2012. Comparisons were made to middle-aged participants aged 50 to 64 (n = 325, M = 58.3 years). Assessments were conducted at baseline and 12-month follow-up. Linear and generalized linear mixed models were performed to assess changes in primary and secondary outcomes, controlling the key sociodemographics and number of chronic conditions. Results. All primary outcomes (i.e., social/role activities limitation, depression, communication with doctors) significantly improved in both the older and middle-aged cohorts. Although improvements in illness symptomatology (e.g., fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, and sleep problems) were similar across both cohorts, only the middle-aged cohort benefitted significantly in terms of overall quality of life and unhealthy mental health days. Effect sizes were larger among the middle-aged population who were also more likely to enter the program in poorer health and be from minority backgrounds. Conclusions. The current study documented improved health outcomes but more so among the middle-aged population. Findings suggest the importance of examining how age and interacting life circumstances may affect chronic disease self-management. © 2014, Society for Public Health Education. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Health Education & Behavior