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Health Psychol. 1991;10(1):1-8.

Self-management of diabetes mellitus: a critical review.

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Department of Psychiatry, Royal Brisbane Hospital, University of Queensland, Herston, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Health Psychol 1992;11(1):77.


Diabetes has no known cure and is a leading source of morbidity and mortality. Clinical management involves patients managing a complex and variable regimen. This article reviews the determinants of effective self-management and the methods of promoting better self-management. Trait variables (e.g., personality and demographics) have been presumed to affect self-management, but evidence suggests they have little impact. The important determinants of self-management are transient situational factors such as psychological stress and social pressure to eat. Interventions to promote better self-management have reported initial improvements in blood glucose control, but the long-term effects are unclear. We conclude that self-management has been inadequately assessed and that attempts to improve self-management have relied excessively on providing information. More research is needed to clarify determinants of self-management, and interventions to improve self-management will need to change these determinants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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