The aim of this study was to determine whether the Arthritis Self-Management Programme (ASMP) is effective in promoting perceived control and self-management ability when delivered in an adult education setting. The study was a pre-test–post-test design based on a sample of 89 people attending an ASMP. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaires prior to the intervention and after the intervention, 4 months from baseline. The sample comprised 80% women, with a mean age of 57 years and a mean disease duration of 13 years. Most participants had either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. After 4 months, participants demonstrated significant increases in arthritis self-efficacy (P < 0.0005), cognitive symptom management (P < 0.0005), communication with doctors (P = 0.018), exercise (P = 0.003) and relaxation (P < 0.00005). In addition, significant decreases were found in terms of pain (P = 0.034) and visits to other health professionals (P = 0.004). The first evaluation of the ASMP, delivered within the context of adult education, suggests that this form of community health education programme can offer substantial benefits for participants, particularly in terms of perceived ability to control various aspects of arthritis and in greater utilization of cognitive-behavioural techniques.
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