The meaning of self-efficacy for symptom management in the acute phase of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Lynn L. White, Marlene Z. Cohen, Ann M. Berger, Kevin A. Kupzyk, Philip J. Bierman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an intensive treatment that offers the potential for longer life or cure for some types of cancer. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant is associated with decreased quality of life and functional status and distressing symptoms. Self-efficacy for symptom management (SESM) is a person's belief in his/her ability to implement behaviors to manage these symptoms. Presence of SESM can affect symptom distress, healthcare utilization, and posttransplantation outcomes. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the meaning of SESM in adults during the acute phase of HSCT. Methods: Interviews were conducted before and at 30 days after transplantation. Descriptive thematic analysis was performed on verbatim interview transcripts. Results: Themes of confidence, being responsible, and caring for mind, body, and spirit were identified, with subthemes of self-confidence, confidence in others, confidence and symptom level, vigilance, self-advocacy, and normalcy. Participants reported having high SESM before transplantation and having much less or no SESM when symptom distress was the most severe. Conclusions: This is the first study to examine the patient's perspective of self-efficacy in the acute phase of HSCT. This contributes to existing literature on the concept of symptom management and expands nursing knowledge of SESM in patients undergoing HSCT. Implications for Practice: Nurses can assess SESM before transplantation and implement interventions to enhance SESM when symptoms are at their most distressing after HSCT. The findings from this study can provide the basis for creating behavioral interventions to enhance self-efficacy for symptom management in HSCT patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E113-E120
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Adult cancer patients
  • Meaning
  • Qualitative research
  • Self-efficacy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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