Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8212837, 8 pages
Research Article

Exploring Self-Efficacy in Australian General Practitioners Managing Patient Obesity: A Qualitative Survey Study

Australian National University Medical School, Academic Unit of General Practice, P.O. Box 11, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia

Received 27 January 2016; Revised 5 April 2016; Accepted 14 April 2016

Academic Editor: Christos D. Lionis

Copyright © 2016 Freya Ashman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Obesity is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Australian community, and general practitioners (GPs) are commonly approached by patients for assistance in losing weight. Previous studies have shown that GPs have low self-efficacy and low outcome expectation when it comes to managing overweight and obese patients, which affects their willingness to initiate and continue with weight counselling. This qualitative survey study aimed to explore the factors influencing confidence and behaviour in obesity management in GPs. Method. Twelve GPs recruited to deliver a pilot of an obesity management program participated in semistructured interviews, and interpretive analysis underpinned by social cognitive theory was performed on the transcripts. Results. Analysis identified five main themes: (1) perceived knowledge and skills, (2) structure to management approach, (3) the GP-patient relationship, (4) acknowledged barriers to weight loss and lifestyle change, and (5) prior experience and outcome expectation. Conclusions. GPs are likely to welcome tools which provide a more structured approach to obesity management. Shifting away from weight and BMI as sole yardsticks for success or failure and emphasising positive lifestyle changes for their own sake may improve GP self-efficacy and allow for a more authentic GP-patient interaction.