Self-efficacy for management of symptoms and symptom distress in adults with cancer: An integrative review

Lynn L. White, Marlene Z. Cohen, Ann Malone Berger, Kevin A Kupzyk, Philip Jay Bierman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION: Self-efficacy for symptom management plays a key role in outcomes, such as quality of life (QOL), functional status, and symptom distress, for adults with cancer. This integrative review identified and assessed evidence regarding self-efficacy for management of symptoms and symptom distress in adults with cancer. LITERATURE SEARCH: The authors performed a search of literature published from 2006-2018, and articles that examined the relationship among self-reported self-efficacy, symptom management, symptom distress or frequency, and severity in adults with cancer were selected for inclusion. DATA EVALUATION: 22 articles met the inclusion criteria. All articles were critically appraised and met standards for methodologic quality. SYNTHESIS: Evidence from this review showed that high self-efficacy was associated with low symptom occurrence and symptom distress and higher general health and QOL. High self-efficacy predicted physical and emotional well-being. Low self-efficacy was associated with higher symptom severity, poorer outcomes, and better overall functioning. IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: Self-efficacy can be assessed using developed instruments. Presence of a theoretical model and validated instruments to measure self-efficacy for symptom management have set the groundwork for ongoing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019



  • Cancer
  • Integrative review
  • Self-efficacy
  • Symptom distress
  • Symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

Cite this