Nicole Martínez, Cynthia D.Connelly, Alexa Pérez, Patricia Calero; Publication date: September 5, 2021;



There is extensive literature from various disciplines on self-care, an important aspect of nursing intervention via evaluation and education, but its meaning remains unprecise due to the difficulty integrating the diverse definitions developed over time across disciplines. Therefore, it is vital to clarify the meaning of self-care and formulate the defining attributes, antecedents, and consequences to self-care.


Walker and Avant’s concept analysis approach was used to analyze the concept of self-care. A search of the literature was completed using the databases CINAHL, PubMed, and EBSCOhost for years 1975–2020; literature search included peer-review articles, full-text publications, and available in English. A total of 31 articles were reviewed, and saturation was reached.


An extensive review of the literature revealed salient characteristics that reflected the most frequently used terms associated with the concept. Guided by Walker and Avant’s method, three defining attributes emerged as common themes: awareness, self-control, and self-reliance.


A clarified definition was identified: the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.