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Can illness beliefs, from the common-sense model, prospectively predict adherence to self-management behaviours?: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Aujla, Navneet; Walker, Marion; Sprigg, Nikola; Abrams, Keith; Massey, Adam; Vedhara, Kavita


Navneet Aujla

Marion Walker

Professor of Stroke Medicine

Keith Abrams

Adam Massey

Professor in Applied Psychology


Objective: To determine whether people’s beliefs about their illness, conceptualised by the common sense model (CSM), can prospectively predict adherence to self-management behaviours (including, attendance, medication, diet and exercise) in adults with acute and chronic physical illnesses.

Design and Main Outcome Measures: Electronic databases were searched in September 2014, for papers specifying the use of the ‘CSM’ in relation to ‘self-management’, ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘adherence’ in the context of physical illness. Six hundred abstracts emerged. Data from 52 relevant studies were extracted. Twenty-one studies were meta-analysed, using correlation coefficients in random effects models. The remainder were descriptively synthesised.

Results: The effect sizes for individual illness belief domains and adherence to self-management behaviours ranged from .04 to .13, indicating very weak, predictive relationships. Further analysis revealed that predictive relationships did not differ by the: type of self-management behaviour; acute or chronic illness; or duration of follow-up.

Conclusion: Individual illness belief domains, outlined by the CSM, did not predict adherence to self-management behaviours in adults with physical illnesses. Prospective relationships, controlling for past behaviour, also did not emerge. Other factors, including patients’ treatment beliefs and inter-relationships between individual illness beliefs domains, may have influenced potential associations with adherence to self-management behaviours.


Aujla, N., Walker, M., Sprigg, N., Abrams, K., Massey, A., & Vedhara, K. (in press). Can illness beliefs, from the common-sense model, prospectively predict adherence to self-management behaviours?: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology and Health, 2016,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 28, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 18, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 18, 2016
Journal Psychology & Health
Print ISSN 0887-0446
Electronic ISSN 1476-8321
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2016
Keywords illness beliefs, common sense model, self-regulation theory, self-management, adherence, systematic review
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology & Health on 28/03/2016, available online:


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