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Spotlight on the Patient Health Engagement model (PHE model): a psychosocial theory to understand people’s meaningful engagement in their own health care

Authors Graffigna G, Barello S

Received 8 March 2018

Accepted for publication 9 May 2018

Published 19 July 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1261—1271


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Video abstract presented by Guendalina Graffigna and Serena Barello.

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Guendalina Graffigna, Serena Barello

Department of Psychology, EngageMinds HUB Research Center, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy

Abstract: The concept of patient engagement in health care is gaining more and more attention not only in the scientific literature, but also as a requirement in the everyday practices of health care organizations. In general terms, the growing body of literature devoted to patient engagement is mainly inspired by the sociological and public health perspectives, which have generated various theories and models trying to explain how people become active agents in their health and care management. However, theories focusing on the psychosocial dimensions intervening in the patient engagement experience are still limited. This paper proposes a psychosocial perspective on patient engagement and discusses the Patient Health Engagement model, which is an evidence-based psychological theory built on extensive qualitative narrative research and literature analysis aimed at explaining patient engagement and its development in the patients’ perspective. The model has been applied to orient patient and professional educational interventions and has contributed to the generation of the first scientific measure of the psychological experience of patients’ engagement in their own care (Patient Health Engagement scale). According to this theory, patient engagement is a developmental process that involves the recovered patients’ ability to have a life projectuality and goal directedness – even if living with a disease. The paper will also discuss the theoretical origins of this model and will conduct a critical comparison of the theory with the Transtheoretical Model of Change developed by Prochaska and the five-stage grief theory by Kubler-Ross.

Keywords: patient engagement, patient empowerment, psychosocial theory, PHE model, emotional factors, psychological dynamics, Transtheoretical Model of Change, five stages of grief theory

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