Defining optimal self-management in osteoarthritis: Racial differences in a population-based sample

Steven M. Albert, Donald Musa, Kent Kwoh, Myrna Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to examine optimal self-management in osteoarthritis and its association with patient-reported outcomes. We recruited a population-based sample of Medicare beneficiaries (n∈=∈551) residing in Allegheny County, PA, USA and elicited an expanded set of self-management behaviors using open-ended inquiry. We defined optimal self-management according to clinical recommendations, including use of hot compresses on affected joints, alteration of activity, and exercise. Only 20% practiced optimal self-management as defined by two or more of these criteria. Optimal and suboptimal self-managers did not differ in sociodemographic features. Both white and African-Americans who practiced optimal self-management reported significantly less pain, but the benefit was greatest in severe disease for whites and for mild-moderate disease among African-Americans. This backdrop of naturally occurring self-management behaviors may be important to recognize in planning programs that seek to bolster self-management skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of cross-cultural gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Population-based sample
  • Race
  • Self-care
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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