Importance: Self-management is a critical component of stroke rehabilitation. A better understanding of the use of theory and behavior change techniques (BCTs) informs the development of more effective stroke self-management interventions.

Objective: To examine what theories and BCTs have been applied in stroke self-management interventions; investigate the extent to which these interventions encourage implementation of behavior changes; and appraise their effectiveness to enhance self-efficacy, quality of life, and functional independence.

Data Sources: Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and were searched from inception to May 26, 2020.

Study Selection and Data Collection: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in six databases were reviewed for inclusion and analysis. We included trials that involved community-dwelling adult stroke survivors, assessed the effectiveness of self-management interventions, and explicitly mentioned the use of theory in the development of the intervention. We assessed use of theory and BCTs using the Theory Coding Scheme and BCT taxonomy v1, respectively.

Findings: A total of 3,049 studies were screened, and 13 RCTs were included. The predominant theory and BCT categories were Social Cognitive Theory (7 studies) and goals and planning (12 studies), respectively. Significant and small effect sizes were found for self-efficacy (0.27) and functional independence (0.19).

Conclusions and Relevance: Theory-based self-management interventions have the potential to enhance stroke outcomes. Systematic reporting on the use of theory and BCTs is recommended to enhance clarity and facilitate evaluations of future interventions.

What This Article Adds: This review supports and guides occupational therapy practitioners to use theory-based self-management intervention as a routine part of stroke rehabilitation to improve stroke survivors’ experience in the community.

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