An individual’s confidence in his or her ability to complete a task, achieve a goal, or solve a problem. One of the main goals of the Arthritis Self-Help Course and other arthritis self-management programs is to improve a person’s self-efficacy. This is done by helping people to master certain skills, providing them with role models, helping them to form new attitudes and perceptions about their symptoms, and educating them about their arthritis. Improving self-efficacy can help people with arthritis feel less helpless and more in control of their condition and their lives in general. Research has shown that people who participate in arthritis self-management programs that emphasize self-efficacy make fewer visits to their doctors for arthritis and have less pain.

People with arthritis can improve their self-efficacy by working on problem-solving skills. By identifying problems, making plans to solve them, and successfully following through with these plans, people can become more confident in their own capabilities. Talking to people who successfully manage their arthritis and learning more about arthritis symptoms and how to control them can also help.

Robert S. Dinsmoor is a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.

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