Aims. The aims of this study were to examine: (1) the relationships between self-efficacy for health management and (a) health-promoting behaviours, (b) health-monitoring behaviours, and (c) self-rated health status in older male prisoners; and (2) the variations in self-rated health status and self-efficacy for health management by inmate characteristics of older men in prison. Background. The greying of the inmate population around the globe can be attributed to increases in punitive crime control practices, life expectancy; and the ageing baby boom generation. Older inmates are typically not a healthy group. Therefore, the needs of burgeoning numbers of older, sicker inmates are issues of international significance. Methods. A descriptive, correlational, survey was conducted from late 2007 to mid-2008 with Bandura's self-efficacy model as the guiding framework. Results/Findings. Participants were 131 male inmates, aged 50 and older. A statistically significant positive relationship was found between self-efficacy for health management and the indexes measuring health-promoting behaviours (r=0·550; P<0·001), health-monitoring behaviours (r=0·323; P=0·001), and the single item rating for self-rated health (τb=0·411; P<0·001). There was a tendency for education to be positively related to self-rated health but not self-efficacy (τb=0·140; P=0·054 and τb=0·105; P=0·122, respectively). Years of incarceration was not significantly related to self-rated health or self-efficacy. Conclusion. These research findings support Bandura's self-efficacy theoretical work and its applicability to health-related research in prisons. Nurses are front line healthcare providers in prison, who are in a key position to implement interventions that promote greater inmate self-efficacy for healthy behaviours and chronic disease management.
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