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Background: Heart failure self-care requires confidence in one’s ability and motivation to perform a recommended behavior. Most self-care occurs within a family context, yet little is known about the influence of family on heart failure self-care or motivating factors. Aims: To examine the association of family functioning and the self-care antecedents of confidence and motivation among heart failure participants and determine if a family partnership intervention would promote higher levels of perceived confidence and treatment self-regulation (motivation) at four and eight months compared to patient–family education or usual care groups. Methods: Heart failure patients (N=117) and a family member were randomized to a family partnership intervention, patient–family education or usual care groups. Measures of patient’s perceived family functioning, confidence, motivation for medications and following a low-sodium diet were analyzed. Data were collected at baseline, four and eight months. Results: Family functioning was related to self-care confidence for diet (p=0.02) and autonomous motivation for adhering to their medications (p=0.05) and diet (p=0.2). The family partnership intervention group significantly improved confidence (p=0.05) and motivation (medications (p=0.004; diet p=0.012) at four months, whereas patient–family education group and usual care did not change. Conclusion: Perceived confidence and motivation for self-care was enhanced by family partnership intervention, regardless of family functioning. Poor family functioning at baseline contributed to lower confidence. Family functioning should be assessed to guide tailored family–patient interventions for better outcomes.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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