Self-care relates to the self-initiated deportment that individuals choose to incorporate or adopt to promote overall wellbeing and good health. Risky health-related behaviors, which serve as primary causes of demises and disorders in adulthood, often emerge during adolescence and progress through one’s maturity. Self-care education among this age group is, therefore, crucial in promoting their overall health. This paper presents a comprehensive literature review on the benefits of learning self-care strategies before eighteen years old in the U.S. Promoting healthy lifestyles among adolescents is necessary to promote their general wellbeing. Among the theories that emphasize the element of self-care is the Orem’s self-care deficit theory. Some surveys reveal that durable and regular self-care experience is correlated with poor developmental impacts. On the contrary, other research pieces demonstrate no significant correlation between adolescents and children’s unsupervised time and academic and behavioral adjustment. This literature review highlights the benefits of self-care education for children and teenagers. Therefore, self-care education within this age group is crucial in improving their overall health and social behavior.
Self-care refers to a naturalistic decision-making procedure involving behavioral choices that sustain the body’s response to symptoms and physiological stability whenever they occur. According to Masoumi and Shahhosseini (2017), approximately sixty-five percent to eighty-five percent of self-care deportments are executed by an individual. Adolescence is a phase that begins with psycho-social and sexual maturity due to emotional and physical procedures and ends when a person attains a sense of identity and freedom and starts being productive socially. Although this stage persists for approximately seven to eight years, its effect continues through one’s lifetime. Risky health-related behaviors, which serve as primary causes of demises and disorders in adulthood, often emerge during adolescence and progress through one’s maturity. Self-care education among this age group is, therefore, crucial in promoting their overall health. This paper presents a comprehensive literature review on the benefits of learning self-care strategies before eighteen years old in the U.S; it contributes to the existing literature by highlighting the role of self-care among children and teenagers.
The mortality rates and disease-related incidences associated with the adolescent phase can hinder children’s capacity to develop and grow to their full potential. Furthermore, according to Masoumi and Shahhosseini (2017), physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, violence, and unprotected intercourse can also jeopardize children’s and adolescent’s health. Negative impacts of acute and chronic disorders in adolescence can adversely affect their life quality, physical activity and trigger school absenteeism, behavioral issues, damaged self-image, and the emergence of distress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Several acute adulthood disorders and behaviors, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), smoking, low physical activity, and improper dietary deportments, are rooted in adolescence. Therefore, adolescence is the period for preventive interventions, including the performance of self-care deportments. Reinforcing healthy lifestyles, including approaches for preventing health-related issues, and strengthening self-care education among adolescents is necessary to promote their general wellbeing.
Theoretical Foundation of Self Care
Among the theories that emphasize the element of self-care among individuals is Orem’s self-care deficit theory. According to Khademian et al. (2018), this theory emphasizes every person’s capability to execute self-care, a conception elucidated as the practical activities initiated and performed by individuals to maintain wellbeing, health, and life. The theory comprises three interconnected theories: the nursing systems, self-care deficit, and self-care theories (Khademian et al., 2018). The self-care theory integrates various elements: self-care agency, self-care, therapeutic self-care demand, and self-care requisites. According to Khademian et al. (2018), self-care relates to the implementation of actions developed and executed by a person to sustain wellbeing, health, and life. Self-care agency refers to one’s capacity to participate in self-care. Khademian et al. (2018) further define therapeutic self-care demand as the self-care action’s totality to be conducted for a specific period to achieve particular self-care requirements by utilizing valid methodologies and pertinent activities. Self-care deficit theory describes when nursing is necessary. Ultimately, the nursing systems postulation delineates how clients’ self-care needs will be addressed by the healthcare provider, patient, or both; it comprises supportive-education frameworks and partial compensatory and wholly compensatory nursing models.
A Review of Studies Supporting the Benefits of Self-Care
Risky health-related behaviors during the adolescent and childhood phase serve as primary causes of demises and disorders in adulthood. Some of the unsafe behaviors during this developmental phase include risky sexual conduct exposing them to STIs and unwanted pregnancies, unhealthy eating habits, tobacco and substance use, and alcohol consumption (Perera & Agboola, 2019). Given that members of this age group are susceptible to risky deportments, capable of harming their wellbeing both physically and mentally, there is an increasing need to educate them on several self-care practices (Perera & Agboola, 2019). Teenagers, therefore, need professional support in their early developmental stage to avert the possibility of engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
Studies linked to self-care practices among adolescents and children are mixed. Some surveys reveal that durable and regular self-care experience is correlated with poor developmental impacts, including the high incidence of substance abuse, misconduct, deviance, aggression, school absenteeism, poor academic performance, anxiety, and fear. On the contrary, other research pieces demonstrate no significant correlation between adolescents and children’s unsupervised time and academic and behavioral adjustment. Furthermore, a survey by Uzuncaikmak and Baser (2017) revealed that children executing self-care practices recorded better academic performance compared to their counterparts. Cohen and Felson’s routine-activity theory further supports this counterargument. This theory suggests that unsupervised time does not essentially constitute a risk. Rather, risk relies partly on whether the self-care social conditions provide opportunities that promote youth’s involvement in risky deportments.
Self-care education impacts health outcomes through various paths, including adherence to therapy regimens, maintenance of excellent physical health through healthy lifestyle choices, managing and monitoring distress, and utilizing social support networks. Several studies conducted by various researchers support this argument. For instance, the study’s findings by Eva et al. (2018) revealed that self-care education involving healthy food consumption, appropriate medication practices, adequate physical activities, and routine glucose monitoring improved diabetic adolescents’ self-management and self-care practices. This, according to Eva et al. (2018), further enhanced better health outcomes. The review’s results also revealed that supportive networks for proper implementation of self-management routines and independent self-care regimes are crucial elements for improving these teenagers’ clinical outcomes (Eva et al., 2018). Therefore, according to these outcomes, self-care education is essential in enhancing diabetic children’s health outcomes.
As indicated earlier, a significant correlation exists between self-care practices and positive health outcomes among adolescents and children. Mosenzadeh et al.’s (2019) research highlighted self-care education’s efficacy in promoting asthma patients’ health outcomes. The randomized control study’s outcomes demonstrated a statistically significant difference between the intervention group’s Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire’s (PAQLQ) scores and the control category, revealing that self-care coaching promotes life quality in asthmatic children. Another survey by Edraki et al. (2020) involving a three-month intervention for teenagers with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) demonstrated the effectiveness of peer education in improving adolescents’ glycosylated hemoglobin and self-care behaviors. The intervention grouping recorded significantly high self-care deportment scores and reduced average glycosylated hemoglobin, unlike the placebo group (Edraki et al., 2017). Therefore, this approach should be adopted as a preventive strategy to control chronic disorders’ progression and reinforce self-care deportments in teenagers.
Preventive self-care interventions have also been associated with reduced health-related susceptibilities due to unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors. This perspective is supported by the outcomes of a systematic review by Perera and Agboola (2019), which revealed that health-promoting self-care approaches are instrumental in improving healthy people’s wellbeing, which, in turn, minimizes health-related risks. Furthermore, according to Perera and Agboola (2019), peer education improves children and teenagers’ self-care behaviors, minimizing their susceptibility to unhealthy sexual behaviors that increase their exposure to STI and unwanted pregnancies. Findings of a quasi-experimental survey by Uzuncakmak and Beser (2017) further demonstrated that self-care education was crucial in improving participants’ average self-care power scale rates. The researchers recommended that school nurses be actively involved in helping adolescents better their self-care power (Uzuncakmak & Beser, 2017). They further suggested that these professionals support families in addressing adolescent-related subjects and self-care issues.
Emotional distress is also a common phenomenon among children and teenagers, and self-care approaches have been distinguished as the most preferred strategy for addressing it. Studies reveal the significance of self-care education in promoting self-care practices among youths with depression or self-perceived depressive stress. Spiritual self-care has also been implicated in improving children and teenagers’ health outcomes. For instance, a survey by Nafiseh et al. (2020) demonstrated that spiritual self-care interventions allowed participants to utilize their spiritual experiences, teachings, and beliefs to control their distress and improve their coping mechanisms. From this review, it is evident that self-care education among children and teenagers is crucial in improving their self-care practices, which, in turn, helps replenish their emotional, mental, and physical energy and strengthen their spiritual and creative reserves.
Discussion and Conclusion
The above literature review highlights the benefits of self-care education for children and teenagers. This review shows that self-care learning is crucial in improving this age group’s academic performance, social behavior, and health outcomes. Self-care consists of four significant wellbeing dimensions: psychological or mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. The latter involves ensuring one leads a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, being physically active, and adhering to medical regimens. Emotional self-care entails caring for one’s emotional needs by distinguishing their feelings and addressing them accordingly. Psychological self-care involves taking care of one’s mental stability, while spiritual wellbeing is based on activities that nurture an individual’s spirit allowing them to strengthen their connection with their higher self. The above review highlights the importance of children and teenagers’ self-care learning in addressing all the aforementioned self-care elements. Therefore, self-care education within this age group is crucial in improving their overall health and social behavior.
Edraki, M., Zarei, A., Soltanian, M., & Moravej, H. (2020). The effect of peer education on self-care behaviors and the mean of glycosylated hemoglobin in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: A randomized controlled clinical trial. International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery, 8(3), 209– 219.
Eva, J. J., Kassab, W. Y., Neoh, C. F., Ming, L. C., Wong, Y. Y., Hameed, M. A., Hong, Y. H., & Sarker, M. R. (2018). Self-care and self-management among adolescent t2dm patients: A review. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 9, 1–7.
Khademian, Z., Ara, F. K., & Gholamzadeh, S. (2018). The effect of self care education based on Orem’s nursing theory on quality of life and self-efficacy in patients with hypertension: A quasi-experimental study. International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery, 8(2), 140–149.
Masoumi, M., & Shahhosseini, Z. (2017). Self-care challenges in adolescents: A comprehensive literature review. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 31(2), 1–23.
Mosenzadeh, A., Ahmadipour, S., Mardani, M., Ebrahimzadeh, F., & Shahkarami, K. (2018). The effect of self-care education on the quality of life in children with allergic asthma. Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing, 42(4), 304–312.
Nafiseh, H. P., Mahmoodi-Shan, G. R., Ebadi, A., & Behnampour, N. (2020). Spiritual self-care in adolescents: A qualitative study. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 32(2), 1–11.
Perera, N., & Agboola, S. (2019). Are formal self-care interventions for healthy people effective? A systematic review of the evidence. BMJ Global Health, 4(10), 1–12.
Uzuncakmak, T., & Beser, N. G. (2017). The effects of self-care education of adolescents on the power of self-care. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 10(3), 1–6. Web.