The purpose of this study is to compare incarcerated and community-dwelling older men's self-efficacy for health management, health-promotion behaviors, and health status. Social cognitive theory was the guiding framework. A sample of 51 incarcerated and 33 community men (age 50 and older) were surveyed. Frequencies and independent samples t tests were computed. Inmates reported significantly less participation in health-promotion behaviors (p <.01) and attended fewer programs (p <.05). The two groups did not demonstrate significant differences in self-efficacy or health status. The latter finding is important because the community men were on average 15 years older. Finding that prisoners attended significantly fewer programs and engaged less often in health-promoting behaviors may be because of lack of availability or awareness of programs to build self-care skills, perceptions that there is not much they can do about their health, a knowledge deficit in regard to health, or insufficient motivation.
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