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Exploring the Associations Between Patient Affect, Self-Care Actions, and Emergency Department Use for Community-Dwelling Adults

Tzeng, Huey-Ming, PhD, RN, FAAN; Pierson, James Marcus, MD; Kang, Yu, PhD; Barker, Anne, MSN, FNP-BC; Yin, Chang-Yi, MA

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000348

Background: Nurses and other health care providers need to ensure that patients receive care that addresses their specific needs and wants.

Purpose: This exploratory study examined the associations between patients' self-reported positive and negative affect, the perceived importance of 57 self-care actions, the desire and ability to perform them, and emergency department use in the past 3 months.

Methods: A secondary analysis from a cross-sectional survey project that surveyed 250 community-dwelling adults living in the southern United States, 2015-2016. Independent t tests and the χ2 test were used.

Results: Positive affect was associated with positive perceptions of self-care actions and having no emergency department visit. Patients with a more negative affect perceived finding and using services that support their health behaviors as being important and expressed a desire to participate in local health screening or wellness events.

Conclusions: Patients' perceptions of their self-care actions could lead to better outcomes.

College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada (Dr Tzeng); Cambridge Management Group, Bellingham, Washington (Dr Pierson); School of Health and Human Services, College of Public Affairs, University of Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Kang); Center for Community Health Ministry, Inc, and Whitson-Hester School of Nursing, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee (Ms Barker); and Taiwan History Research Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan (Mr Yin).

Correspondence: Huey-Ming Tzeng, PhD, RN, FAAN, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, 104 Clinic Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2Z4, Canada (,

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Accepted for publication: June 1, 2018

Published ahead of print: July 23, 2018

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