Objective(s) : To assess the associations of illness perceptions with activity engagement in individuals with chronic illness and physical disability.
Data Sources : Relevant literature databases, including PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science were searched from inception through February 1, 2019 using multiple search terms for chronic illness, illness perceptions, and activity engagement, with the following constraints: English, humans, adults, and peer-reviewed journals.
Study Selection : Studies that contained information on the relationships between the engagement of daily routine activities and illness perceptions of individuals with chronic illness or physical disability were included in this systematic review. Two reviewers independently screened and selected the studies flowing the PRISMA protocol (Moher et al., 2015). 30 out of 510 studies met the selection criteria and were included in this review.
Data Extraction : Two reviewers independently assessed study quality using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (Pluye & Hong, 2014), and extracted results from included studies.
Data Synthesis : Authors located 22 cross-sectional studies, identifying positive relationships between illness perceptions and activity engagement. Specifically, strong beliefs in more symptoms, severe consequences, longer timeline, and negative emotional representations are associated with more difficulty and limitations in engaging in activities of daily living (ADL), role fulfillment, and social activities; whereas strong believes in personal control and better understanding of the illness is related to better ADL performance and work participation. In addition, similar results were found in other 7 longitudinal studies and one qualitative study.
Conclusions : In general, individuals’ illness perceptions are positively associated with activity engagement. During the rehabilitation process, healthcare professionals should pay attention to individuals’ illness perceptions to target interventions and assist individuals’ activity engagement effectively.