Self-care and professionally guided care in osteoarthritis: Racial differences in a population-based sample

Steven M. Albert, Donald Musa, C. Kent Kwoh, Joseph T. Hanlon, Myrna Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of self-management practices among older White and African American persons with osteoarthritis. Self-management was defined broadly to include all behaviors adopted to reduce morbidity, whether recommended by physicians or not. Methods: A population-based sample of Medicare beneficiaries (N = 551) was recruited. An expanded set of self-management behaviors using structured and open-ended inquiry, along with use of arthritis-specific medications was elicited. Results: Few differences in self-care behaviors between race groups were found. However, older African American persons were significantly less likely to have prescriptions for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) and more likely to use over-the-counter nonprescription analgesics. Discussion: Older White and African American persons made similar use of self-care strategies to reduce disease morbidity. African Americans without access to prescription pain relievers substituted nonprescription analgesics. A broader view of self-management is valuable for assessing the ways people may move between professionally guided care and self-care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-216
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • African American
  • Disparities
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Population-based sample
  • Prescription medication
  • Self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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