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Open Access Research

Nurses’ self-efficacy and practices relating to weight management of adult patients: a path analysis

Da Q Zhu1, Ian J Norman2 and Alison E While2*

Author Affiliations

1 Second Military Medical University, School of Nursing, Xiangyin Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

2 King’s College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Waterloo Road, London, UK

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:131  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-131

Published: 4 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Health professionals play a key role in the prevention and treatment of excess weight and obesity, but many have expressed a lack of confidence in their ability to manage obese patients with their delivery of weight-management care remaining limited. The specific mechanism underlying inadequate practices in professional weight management remains unclear. The primary purpose of this study was to examine a self-efficacy theory-based model in understanding Registered Nurses’ (RNs) professional performance relating to weight management.

Methods

A self-report questionnaire was developed based upon the hypothesized model and administered to a convenience sample of 588 RNs. Data were collected regarding socio-demographic variables, psychosocial variables (attitudes towards obese people, professional role identity, teamwork beliefs, perceived skills, perceived barriers and self-efficacy) and professional weight management practices. Structural equation modeling was conducted to identify correlations between the above variables and to test the goodness of fit of the proposed model.

Results

The survey response rate was 71.4% (n = 420). The respondents reported a moderate level of weight management practices. Self-efficacy directly and positively predicted the weight management practices of the RNs (β = 0.36, p < 0.01), and fully or partially mediated the relationships between perceived skills, perceived barriers, professional role identity and teamwork beliefs and weight management practices. The final model constructed in this study demonstrated a good fit to the data [χ2 (14) =13.90, p = 0.46; GFI = 0.99; AGFI = 0.98; NNFI = 1.00; CFI = 1.00; RMSEA = 0.00; AIC = 57.90], accounting for 38.4% and 43.2% of the variance in weight management practices and self-efficacy, respectively.

Conclusions

Self-efficacy theory appears to be useful in understanding the weight management practices of RNs. Interventions targeting the enhancement of self-efficacy may be effective in promoting RNs’ professional performance in managing overweight and obese patients.

Keywords:
Nurses; Self-efficacy; Weight management practices; Model testing