Cancer survivors’ self-efficacy to self-manage in the year following primary treatment

Foster, Claire, Breckons, Matthew, Cotterell, P., Barbosa, D., Calman, Lynn, Corner, Jessica, Fenlon, Deborah, Foster, R., Grimmett, Chloe, Richardson, Alison and Smith, P.W. (2014) Cancer survivors’ self-efficacy to self-manage in the year following primary treatment. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 9 (1). pp. 11-19. ISSN 1932-2267

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Cancer survivors are increasingly expected to manage the consequences of cancer and its treatment for themselves. There is evidence that self-efficacy is important for successful self-management and that this can be enhanced with support. The purpose of this study was to assess self-efficacy to manage problems in the year following primary treatment.


This cross-sectional online survey included cancer survivors who had completed their treatment within the past 12 months. Self-efficacy was assessed and variables expected to be associated with self-efficacy were measured using validated scales including quality of life, well-being, illness perceptions, depression and social support.


One hundred eighty-two respondents (mean age 50; 81 % female) completed the survey. They had been treated for a range of cancers; most commonly breast (45 %). Self-efficacy scores varied between individuals and according to the illness-related task to be managed. Respondents were least confident in managing fatigue and most confident in accessing information about their cancer. Individuals most likely to report low self-efficacy were women, those experiencing higher levels of pain and/or depression, lower well-being scores, lower socio-economic status, low levels of social support, or a more negative perception of cancer.


Self-efficacy to self-manage problems faced as a consequence of cancer and its treatment can vary widely in the year following treatment. Fatigue may be particularly difficult to manage.


Variations in self-efficacy highlight the importance of assessing specific problems faced and people's confidence to manage them in order to tailor appropriate self-management support.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: self-management, cancer survivors, self-efficacy, confidence, neoplasms
Subjects: Library of Congress Subject Areas > B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Library of Congress Subject Areas > R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC 254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2014 09:35
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 16:50

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