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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Support Self-Care Power in Adolescents

The life stage of adolescence is quite complex. Adolescents go through many changes. The experiences an adolescent has during their teen years can influence their adulthood for better or for worse. One way that a teen’s experience can influence their adult years is the way they develop self-care behaviors.


Self-care is important for anyone for many reasons. Self-care helps a person to manage stress and improve overall well-being and life satisfaction.

Adolescents at Risk

Adolescents may also be at risk for engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as using tobacco or alcohol or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. To help prevent these potentially problematic behaviors, teaching an adolescent about self-care can be helpful.

Defining Self-Care

Selfcare is defined as an individuals performance of protecting their life, health, wellbeing and selfcare power is the ability to perform these activities (Tufekci & Arıkan, 2002; as cited in ).”

Self-Care Study

In one study, the researchers evaluated a self-care education program given to adolescent students which included the following topics:

  • The concept of selfcare.
  • Characteristics of adolescence, problems related to physical-psychological development and coping with them
    • nutrition
    • hygiene
    • physical activity
    • infectious diseases
    • the hazards of using tobacco
    • alcohol and substances
  • The importance of the relations between family and peers
  • Open and efficient communication.
  • Family, school and environmental problems that occurred and coping with them

Self-Care Power Can Be Improved

In the previously mentioned study, the program being implemented increased adolescent’s self-care power. This supports the idea that adolescents can learn to independently engage in activities considered to be self-care. Adolescents can make positive behavior choices from eating healthy foods, taking care of their bodies, engaging in exercise, preventing disease, and making positive decisions when it comes to substances.

They can also learn about self-care as it relates to building and maintain healthy relationships. Self-care is not always just about the individual self; Sometimes it is also about the self and another person. For instance, an adolescent who spends time with a friend or family member can, in some ways, be engaging in self-care by doing so.

Action Steps

If you are reading this as a parent, think about what self-care skills your teen has and what self-care skills you can help them develop.

If you are reading this as  a treatment provider, think about the clients you are working with and what self-care related skills the teens you are working with could develop and then help the teen and their parent to create an individualized treatment plan to promote these skills.


Uzuncakmak, Tugba,R.N., PhD., & Beser, Nalan Gordeles,R.N., PhD. (2017). The effects of self-care education of adolescents on the power of self-care. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 10(3), 1368-1373. Retrieved from

Support Self-Care Power in Adolescents

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services. You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2020). Support Self-Care Power in Adolescents. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2020, from