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Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Nov;77(2):218-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.03.012. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

Goal setting in diabetes self-management: taking the baby steps to success.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.



To evaluate the usefulness of a diabetes self-management guide and a brief counseling intervention in helping patients set and achieve their behavioral goals.


We conducted a quasi-experimental study using a one group pretest posttest design to assess the effectiveness of a goal setting intervention along with a self-management guide. English- and Spanish-speaking patients with diabetes had one in-person session and two telephone follow-up calls with a non-clinical provider over a 12-16-week period. At each call and at the end of the study, we assessed success in achieving behavioral goals and problem solving toward those goals. Satisfaction with the self-management guide was assessed at the end of the study.


We enrolled 250 patients across three sites and 229 patients completed the study. Most patients chose to set goals in diet and exercise domains. 93% of patients achieved at least one behavioral goal during the study and 73% achieved at least two behavioral goals. Many patients exhibited problem solving behavior to achieve their goals. We found no significant differences in reported achievement of behavior goals by literacy or language. Patients were very satisfied with the guide.


A brief goal setting intervention along with a diabetes self-management guide helped patients set and achieve healthy behavioral goals.


Non-clinical providers can successfully help a diverse range of patients with diabetes set and achieve behavioral goals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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