Self-management of chronic low back pain: An exploration of the impact of a patient-centered website

Maria Caiata Zufferey, Peter J. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: This paper examines from a qualitative approach the role of a patient-centered website - named "Oneself" - on patients' chronic low back pain self-management attitudes and behaviors in the Italian part of Switzerland. Methods: In-depth interviews have been conducted with a purposive and convenient sample of 18 chronic low back pain sufferers who had used Oneself during 6 months. Data collection and analysis were driven by grounded theory. Results: Reported positive effects of the use of Oneself on self-management attitudes and behaviors include self-comprehension, improvement of argumentative abilities, orientation, development of self-confidence and maintenance of a high level of attention. In some cases, participants affirm to have experienced negative effects such as confusion and discouragement. The individual's previous awareness of cLBP and level of self-management plays a main role in the way people use the website and in its impact. Based on this criterium, a typology of four patterns of use is drawn. Conclusion: Patient-centered websites are useful for enhancing self-management of chronic low back pain. However, individuals take advantage of this means differently, based on their stage of advancement in the self-management process. Practice implications: Information and supports provided online should be tailored according to people's stage of advancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the National Research Programme NRP 53 ‘Musculoskeletal Health – Chronic Pain’ of the Swiss National Science Foundation for the financial support of this study (project 405340–104841/1), as well as the Lega Ticinese per la Lotta contro il Reumatismo, which has enabled its feasibility.


  • Chronic low back pain
  • Grounded theory
  • Health communication
  • Internet
  • Self-management
  • Tailoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-management of chronic low back pain: An exploration of the impact of a patient-centered website'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this