Trajectories of self-efficacy in persons with chronic illness: An explorative longitudinal study


Publication date


Series/Report no

Psychology and Health;


Taylor & Francis

Document type


Background: Self-efficacy is important for changing health behavior in persons with chronic illness. Longer-term trajectories have not been previously explored. Objective: This study’s objective was to explore the trajectories of self-efficacy in two different groups with chronic illnesses attending a patient education course. Design: The study design was a longitudinal, comparative cohort study with five time points during a one year follow-up, using repeated measures analysis of variance. Setting and participants: Persons with morbid obesity (n = 55) and persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; n = 56) were recruited at the start of patient education courses in Norway and followed-up four times the following year. Main outcome measure: The General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) was the main outcome. Results: Obese persons showed a linear pattern of increasing self-efficacy during the follow-up period, whereas persons with COPD had an initial increase followed by a decrease in self-efficacy. Having paid work was associated with a more positive self-efficacy trajectory. Conclusion: The results provide support for the currently employed patient education course for morbidly obese persons. In contrast, persons with COPD may need more extensive and/or more frequent support in order to increase and maintain self-efficacy across time



This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Bonsaksen,T., Fagermoen, M.S. & Lerdal, A. (2013). Trajectories of self-efficacy in persons with chronic illness: An explorative longitudinal study. Psychology and Health, doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.856432, 2013 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)