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Diabetes Educ. 2010 Sep-Oct;36(5):828-34. doi: 10.1177/0145721710378539. Epub 2010 Aug 20.

Are patients' initial experiences at the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes associated with attitudes and self-management over time?

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, USA.


Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate patients' experiences when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related distress and self-management years later. Method One hundred seventy-nine adults with type 2 diabetes, 1 to 5 years after diagnosis, completed a questionnaire assessing what they were told and what was recommended at diagnosis as well as current diet, physical activity, and diabetes distress.


Most patients (60%) expressed confidence in their health care provider (HCP) at diagnosis, but 30% reported that a clear action plan was not communicated. Current diabetes distress was significantly lower among those who reported being reassured at diagnosis that diabetes could be managed successfully and had developed a clearer action plan with their HCP. Patients' current dietary behaviors were significantly better among those receiving a clearer action plan at diagnosis.


Patients' retrospective reports of reassuring HCP messages when diagnosed, along with the presentation of a clear action plan, are associated with less diabetes distress and better self-management at 1 to 5 years after diagnosis. Practical implications Findings suggest a long-lasting impact on patients' attitudes and behaviors when the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is delivered clearly, a sense of hope is provided, and a specific care plan is put forward.

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