Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Linda Burdette


BMI, nurses, obesity, self-care, self-care agency, self-care practices


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between self-care agency (SCA), self-care practices (SCP), and Body Mass Index (BMI) among Registered Nurses (RNs) living in an urban South Dakota county. These specific constructs and their relationships have not been researched among nursing professionals. Methods: This study used a non-experimental, predictive correlational approach based on Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory to quantify the relationship between self-care agency and self-care practices and subsequently body mass index (BMI) among nursing professionals. A tracked but anonymous online survey was sent by email via QuestionPro to 210 nursing professionals selected using systematic random sampling from a population of 3900 RNs in an urban South Dakota county. The online survey included questions about demographics, lifestyle, professional background, and biometric measurements (height and weight) as well as the Denyes Self-Care Agency Instrument (DSCAI-90) and Denyes Self-Care Practices Instrument (DSCPI-90).
Results: The sample population consisted of 31 RNs who responded to the email invitation and voluntarily enrolled in the study. Sample participants demonstrated selfcare agency relating to knowledge and valuing health but reported a lack of support and an inability to give attention to self-care. The BMI distribution showed an obesity rate of 23%. The data demonstrated that SCA, as measured by the DSCAI-90, has a strong correlation with SCP (r = 0.838, p = 0.000), as measured by the DSCPI-90. SCP had a moderate correlation with BMI (r = -0.407, p = 0.025).
Conclusions: The relationships between the study variables and laid out in Orem’s Self- Care Deficit Theory were confirmed among the sample population of South Dakota RNs. However, the sample was small, limiting the generalizability of the study. Orem’s Self- Care Theory can be visualized in the relationship of nursing professionals to weight management and thus can aide in the understanding of and intervention in health promotion. These results are just a start in this line of inquiry. Further research would be indicated for the potential development of interventions to promote improved weight management among nursing professionals.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurses -- South Dakota.

Self-care, Health.

Body mass index.

Health behavior.



Includes bibliographical references (pages 113-134)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2016 Takara Lynn

Included in

Nursing Commons