This article describes a qualitative study that investigated the experiences, attitudes, and opinions of adults with asthma regarding self-managing their disease. Focus groups were conducted with 22 adults living in metropolitan and regional New South Wales, Australia. Key findings were that the perceived stigma of asthma, the need for social support, and the need for "asthma-friendly general practitioners" concerned participants more than formal self-management procedures such as written Asthma Action Plans and medication regimes. Social cognitive theory was used to explain the fluid relationship between persons with asthma, their environment, and their behavior in relation to self-management strategies and in identifying patient-centered approaches. This qualitative research suggests that asthma is viewed as a specific, individualized condition best managed from the perspective of patients' disease experience and environmental context and not one that is appropriately represented by collective, generic self-management recommendations. The authors' findings suggest that self-management outcomes can be improved by recognizing the variance in self-efficacy levels between individuals and tailoring environmental and social support strategies around these.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jmullan/34/