To investigate the contributions of physiotherapy and occupational therapy to self-management interventions and the theoretical models used to support these interventions in chronic disease.
We conducted two literature searches to identify studies that evaluated self-management interventions involving physiotherapists and occupational therapists in MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, EMBASE, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine), SPORTdiscus, and REHABDATA databases.
Four investigator pairs screened article title and abstract, then full text with inclusion criteria. Selected articles ( n = 57) included adults who received a chronic disease self-management intervention, developed or delivered by a physiotherapist and/or an occupational therapist compared with a control group.
Four pairs of investigators performed independent reviews of each article and data extraction included: (a) participant characteristics, (b) the self-management intervention, (c) the comparison intervention, (d) outcome measures, construct measured and results.
A total of 47 articles reported the involvement of physiotherapy in self-management compared with 10 occupational therapy articles. The type of chronic condition produced different yields: arthritis n = 21 articles; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic pain n = 9 articles each. The theoretical frameworks most frequently cited were social cognitive theory and self-efficacy theory. Physical activity was the predominant focus of the self-management interventions. Physiotherapy programmes included disease-specific education, fatigue, posture, and pain management, while occupational therapists concentrated on joint protection, fatigue, and stress management.
Physiotherapists and occupational therapists make moderate contributions to self-management interventions. Most of these interventions are disease-specific and are most frequently based on the principles of behaviour change theories.