Health self-care in the United States.


OBJECTIVES We provide the most recent population-level estimates of time spent in health self-care (including activities such as taking medicine, giving oneself an injection, and wound care). Additionally, we determine when, where, and with whom this time is distributed. STUDY DESIGN We analyze pooled cross-sectional data on individuals aged 21 years and older (n = 36,033) from the nationally representative 2008, 2010, and 2012-2013 American Time Use Survey. METHODS We report the likelihood of any self-care, the mean minutes spent in self-care among those who report any, and the percentage distribution of self-care across the day, in the presence of others, and by place. We examine these trends overall and by sex, race/ethnicity, income, age, education, employment status, disability, and health. RESULTS Overall, 6.7% of the population reports any health self-care on an average day, among whom an average of 76.6 min is spent in care. Individuals are most likely to report self-care in the morning, perform 76.1% of their care alone, and 97% in their own homes. These trends vary across sex, race/ethnicity, age, income, education, employment, disability, and health. CONCLUSIONS Our results demonstrate at the population level that self-care is a time-intensive form of health management that is not equally distributed by time, place, the availability of others, or by sociodemographic characteristics. It is important to consider these inequities in order to provide optimal support for patient care outside of health facilities.

DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.02.030

Cite this paper

@article{Shandra2016HealthSI, title={Health self-care in the United States.}, author={Carrie L Shandra and N Sonalkar}, journal={Public health}, year={2016}, volume={138}, pages={26-32} }