Background: Osteoporosis patient education is offered in many countries worldwide. When evaluating complex interventions like these, it is important to understand how and why the intervention leads to effects. This study aimed to develop a program theory of osteoporosis patient education in Danish municipalities with a focus on examining the mechanisms of change i.e. what is about the programs that generate change. Methods: The program theory was developed in an iterative process. The initial draft was based on a previous published systematic review, and subsequently the draft was continually refined based on findings from observations (10 h during osteoporosis patient education) and interviews (individual interviews with six employees in municipalities and three health professionals at hospitals, as well as four focus group interviews with participants in patient education (in total 27 informants)). The transcribed interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis and with inspiration from realist evaluation the mechanisms as well as the contextual factors and outcomes were examined. Results: Based on this qualitative study we developed a program theory of osteoporosis patient education and identified four mechanisms: motivation, recognizability, reassurance, and peer reflection. For each mechanism we examined how contextual factors activated the mechanism as well as which outcomes were achieved. For instance, the participants’ motivation is activated when they meet in groups, and thereafter outcomes such as more physical activity may be achieved. Recognizability is activated by the participants’ course of disease, which may lead to better ergonomic habits. Reassurance may result in more physical activity, and this mechanism is activated in newly diagnosed participants without previous fractures. Peer reflection is activated when the participants meet in groups, and the outcome healthier diet may be achieved. Conclusions: We developed a program theory and examined how and why osteoporosis patient education is likely to be effective. Understanding these prerequisites is important for future implementation and evaluation of osteoporosis patient education.

TidsskriftBMC Geriatrics
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.


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