Perspectives on self-management of individuals living with chronic illnesses: A qualitative study in the Asian context

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Living with a chronic illness requires individuals to perform a critical role in self-managing their illness to improve their quality of life and prevent disease-related complications. To our knowledge, no studies have explored how individuals perceive managing their illness in daily living within the Asian context. This exploratory-descriptive qualitative study aimed to explore the individuals' perspectives regarding self-managing their life with a chronic illness within the Asian context. Individual interviews were conducted with 15 adults living with chronic illness, from three teaching hospitals in Pakistan. An iterative process was followed for data collection and analysis. The analysis identified self-management as complex and situation-driven with variable roles for individuals, namely follower, selective follower, self-permitting role, and active role. Three interrelated elements were found to be influencing these roles: the components of self-management; individuals' relationship with agencies (significant people and power); and their inner drives. Individuals keep moving between these four self-management roles to avoid disharmony and reciprocate the efforts of their significant others. The interdependent community structure, which is a reality in Asian society, was reflected in our data. With this in view, a great deal of authority was given to family relationships and healthcare professionals (HCPs). This study found a lack of collaborative partnership role between individuals and HCPs. The findings and a suggested conceptual figure can facilitate redefining the individuals' and professionals' roles in the healthcare system to promote collaborative partnership and improve individuals' experience of living with a chronic illness within the Asian context. Members of the research team have extensive experience in research around chronic illness management, and self-management (support) from the Western context. The researcher did not need the patient or public contribution in this preliminary exploratory study from the Asian context.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Research in Nursing & Health