Systematic review of measurement properties of self-reported instruments for evaluating self-care in adults

Systematic review of measurement properties of self-reported instruments for evaluating self-care in adults



The aims of this study were as follows: to identify instruments developed to assess self-care in healthy adults; to determine the theory on which they were based; their validity and reliability properties and to synthesize the evidence on their measurement properties.


Many instruments have been developed to assess self-care in many different populations and conditions. Clinicians and researchers should select the most appropriate self-care instrument based on the knowledge of their measurement properties.


Systematic review of measurement instruments according to the protocol recommended by the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) panel.

Data sources

PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Scopus and CINAHL databases were searched from inception to December 2015.

Review methods

Studies testing measurement properties of self-report instruments assessing self-care in healthy adults, published in the English language and in peer review journals were selected. Two reviewers independently appraised the methodological quality of the studies with the COSMIN checklist and the quality of results using specific quality criteria.


Twenty-six articles were included in the review testing the measurement properties of nine instruments. Seven instruments were based on Orem's Self-care theory. Not all the measurement properties were evaluated for the identified instruments. No self-care instrument showed strong evidence supporting the evaluated measurement properties.


Despite the development of several instruments to assess self-care in the adult population, no instrument can be fully recommended to clinical nurses and researchers. Further studies of high methodological quality are needed to confirm the measurement properties of these instruments.


adult population; instruments; measurement properties; nurse; nursing assessment; self-care; systematic review.



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