Improving self-management of people with type 2 diabetes in the first years after diagnosis: Development and pilot of a theory-based interactive group intervention

Anne L. van Puffelen*, Monique J. W. M. Heijmans, François G. Schellevis, Giel Nijpels, Mieke Rijken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To describe how principles of self-regulation and social support could be integrated in a group intervention to improve self-management of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the early phase of illness and to pilot its suitability in a primary care setting. Methods: Principles of the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation, Social Cognitive Theory of Self-Regulation and social support theories were integrated in the intervention. Based on this, a three-session group course was developed to challenge illness perceptions of participants that discourage adequate self-management, to practice goal-setting and behavioural actions and to create a supportive environment. The intervention was piloted with persons with early-stage (1–3 years post diagnosis) type 2 diabetes mellitus selected in general practice in the Netherlands. Data about the suitability of the intervention were retrieved by means of observation and audio-recording of the sessions, an evaluation form filled in by the participants and an evaluation meeting with the group leaders. Results: In total, 16 type 2 diabetes mellitus patients participated in the pilot, who were divided into a group of single participants (N = 8) and a group (N = 8) who participated with their partner. Discrepancies between perceptions of one’s own condition and type 2 diabetes mellitus in general were observed. Goal-setting and developing action plans appeared to be difficult tasks for many participants, whereas others felt these exercises were not useful as they did not feel a need to make changes in living with diabetes. The group-based format was appreciated as was the participation of partners. Conclusion: Challenging the illness perceptions of persons with early-stage type 2 diabetes mellitus by a brief interactive group course is feasible and important, as many of these people tend to underestimate the seriousness of their diabetes. However, motivating persons with early-stage type 2 diabetes mellitus to participate in self-management interventions remains a challenge. Offering the intervention as an integral part of type 2 diabetes mellitus management in primary care is desirable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSage Open Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

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