Recognizing changing symptoms is challenging for patients with heart failure (HF), especially older patients. Body awareness involves an attentional focus on and awareness of internal bodily changes. Patients with poor body awareness are unlikely to recognize subtle bodily changes, which may result in improper self-care. Despite the potential benefits of body awareness, its contribution to HF management has not been examined.
The aims of this study were to examine the relationship between body awareness and self-care in patients with HF and explore whether this relationship varies by age.
Patients (N = 136) completed the Body Awareness Questionnaire and 2 scales of the Self-care of HF Index (maintenance and management). Linear regression models were constructed to explore the relationship between body awareness and self-care after controlling for covariates. The moderation effect of age on the relationship between body awareness and self-care was examined using the PROCESS macro.
Body awareness was associated with self-care maintenance (unstandardized coefficient = 0.19; 95% confidence interval, 0.05–0.34) but not management. When the interaction effect of body awareness and age was entered in the regression model, neither self-care maintenance nor management was related to this interaction term.
We found that body awareness is conducive to self-care maintenance but not self-care management in patients with HF, and the relationship between body awareness and self-care did not vary by age. Our findings suggest that relying on internal body sensations may be insufficient to facilitate self-care management. Thus, other strategies along with the strategies to enhance body awareness are necessary to improve the full process of self-care in HF patients.