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Marketing Self-management Education: Lessons on Messaging and Framing

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Self-management education (SME) refers to educational interventions that help individuals with chronic diseases maintain or improve their quality of life. To help increase SME participation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted audience research to assess feasibility of a campaign to market SME as a chronic disease management strategy and increase future receptivity to specific SME programs.


Twenty focus groups were conducted in 3 rounds across 8 cities with men and women ages 45‐75 with a variety of, or multiple, chronic conditions. Data were analyzed to identify cross-cutting themes and assess differences by sex, race/ethnicity, and location.


Findings revealed that although people with chronic disease are not aware of SME, it is feasible to deliver motivating messages about SME, and content need not be condition- or intervention-specific. Concepts viewed most positively by focus groups incorporated positive tone, empowering language, specific references to health, relatable images, and a website for more information.


This qualitative work suggests SME marketing strategies will be most effective by providing background information, framing messages positively, using clear relatable language, and making it easy for potential participants to find a program.
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Keywords: health promotion; marketing; qualitative research; self-management education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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