Problem Identification: Self-efficacy for symptom management plays a key role in outcomes, such as quality of life (QOL), functional status, and symptom distress, for adults with cancer. This integrative review identified and assessed evidence regarding self-efficacy for management of symptoms and symptom distress in adults with cancer.
Literature Search: The authors performed a search of literature published from 2006–2018, and articles that examined the relationship among self-reported self-efficacy, symptom management, symptom distress or frequency, and severity in adults with cancer were selected for inclusion.
Data Evaluation: 22 articles met the inclusion criteria. All articles were critically appraised and met standards for methodologic quality.
Synthesis: Evidence from this review showed that high self-efficacy was associated with low symptom occurrence and symptom distress and higher general health and QOL. High self-efficacy predicted physical and emotional well-being. Low self-efficacy was associated with higher symptom severity, poorer outcomes, and better overall functioning.
Implications for Research: Self-efficacy can be assessed using developed instruments. Presence of a theoretical model and validated instruments to measure self-efficacy for symptom management have set the groundwork for ongoing research.