Exploring health behaviour determinants of ageing Australians with chronic diseases

Guo, Mei (2011) Exploring health behaviour determinants of ageing Australians with chronic diseases. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Background: Chronic disease presents overwhelming challenges to elderly patients, their families, health care providers and the health care system. The aim of this study was to explore a theoretical model for effective management of chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or cardiovascular disease. The assumed theoretical model considered the connections between physical function, mental health, social support and health behaviours. The study effort was to improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease and to reduce health costs. Methods: A cross-sectional post questionnaire survey was conducted in early 2009 from a randomised sample of Australians aged 50 to 80 years. A total of 732 subjects were eligible for analysis. Firstly, factors influencing respondents‘ quality of life were investigated through bivariate and multivariate regression analysis. Secondly, the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) model for regular physical activity, healthy eating and medication adherence behaviours was tested for all relevant respondents using regression analysis. Thirdly, TPB variable differences between respondents who have diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease and those without these diseases were compared. Finally, the TPB model for three behaviours including regular physical activity, healthy eating and medication adherence were tested in respondents with diabetes and/or cardiovascular diseases using Structure Equation Modelling (SEM). Results: This was the first study combining the three behaviours using a TPB model, while testing the influence of extra variables on the TPB model in one study. The results of this study provided evidence that the ageing process was a cumulative effect of biological change, socio-economic environment and lifelong behaviours. Health behaviours, especially physical activity and healthy eating were important modifiable factors influencing respondents‘ quality of life. Since over 80% of the respondents had at least one chronic disease, it was important to consider supporting older people‘s chronic disease self-management skills such as healthy diet, regular physical activity and medication adherence to improve their quality of life. Direct measurement of the TPB model was helpful in understanding respondents‘ intention and behaviour toward physical activity, healthy eating and medication adherence. In respondents with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, the TPB model predicted different proportions of intention toward three different health behaviours with 39% intending to engage in physical activity, 49% intending to engage in healthy eating and 47% intending to comply with medication adherence. Perceived behavioural control, which was proven to be the same as self-efficacy in measurement in this study, played an important role in predicting intention towards the three health behaviours. Also social norms played a slightly more important role than attitude for physical activity and medication adherence, while attitude and social norms had similar effects on healthy eating in respondents with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Both perceived behavioural control and intention directly predicted recent actual behaviours. Physical activity was more a volitional control behaviour than healthy eating and medication adherence. Step by step goal setting and motivation was more important for physical activity, while accessibility, resources and other social environmental factors were necessary for improving healthy eating and medication adherence. The extra variables of age, waist circumference, health related quality of life and depression indirectly influenced intention towards the three behaviours mainly mediated through attitude and perceived behavioural control. Depression was a serious health problem that reduced the three health behaviours‘ motivation, mediated through decreased self-efficacy and negative attitude. This research provided evidence that self-efficacy is similar to perceived behavioural control in the TPB model and intention is a proximal goal toward a particular behaviour. Combining four sources of information in the self-efficacy model with the TPB model would improve chronic disease patients‘ self management behaviour and reach an improved long-term treatment outcome. Conclusion: Health intervention programs that target chronic disease management should focus on patients‘ self-efficacy. A holistic approach which is patient-centred and involves a multidisciplinary collaboration strategy would be effective. Supporting the socio-economic environment and the mental/ emotional environment for older people needs to be considered within an integrated health care system.

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ID Code: 45939
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Courtney, Mary & Anderson, Debra
Keywords: chronic disease, diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, health determinants, older Australians, health behaviours, physical activity, healthy eating, medication adherence, theory of planned behaviour, self-efficacy, quality of life (SF-36)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Sep 2011 02:45
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2011 02:45

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