This article explores the intraindividual variability in illness representations of people with multiple chronic conditions and examines how representations of hypertension and arthritis are associated with self-management. Intraclass correlations determined the proportion of within-person variability in illness representations including Timeline, Consequences, Personal Control, and Timeline—Cyclical for 25 adults aged 64 and older. Within-person consistency across illnesses was present for Timeline and Timeline—Cyclical, but variability across illnesses in Personal Control and Consequences. Correlations revealed associations of diet, exercise, and sleep with illness representations of people with arthritis and hypertension. Representations of hypertension (Personal Control, Timeline–Cyclical, and Consequences) were associated with adherence to a reduced fat diet, walking, and total sleep time. Representations of arthritis were not associated with health behaviors. Findings demonstrate that clinical practice must consider the illness representations patients have about each of their chronic illnesses to begin to sustain positive self-management behaviors.
The International Journal of Aging and Human Development – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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