Students' Self-Concepts: Implications for Promoting Self-Care Within the Nursing Curriculum

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An important component of encouraging self-care among nursing students is the development of a self-concept that is aligned with valuing personal health. Dimensions of self-concept have been found to correlate with health behaviors and responses to health promotion information. In this study, 300 undergraduate students in a health course completed measures regarding their self-concept, health behaviors, and responses to a health promotion message. Students reported little overlap between their descriptions of themselves and of people they liked and respected and their descriptions of people who are healthy and take care of themselves. In addition, various self-concept ratings were related to self-reported involvement with smoking, alcohol consumption, and exercise, as well as to their responses to a health promotion message. This study offers suggestions for addressing the complexity of students' self-concepts in the nursing curriculum to foster a self-identity that includes valuing self-care at this key developmental stage.

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