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Health Psychol. 1989;8(3):267-84.

Blood glucose monitoring by diabetic adolescents: compliance and metabolic control.

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Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University, Columbus 43205.


Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is used in the management of diabetes to guide insulin and diet adjustments. However, SMBG has not achieved its potential impact on diabetic control, perhaps due to poor compliance. Research on SMBG compliance interventions has been hampered by a lack of reliable and practical methods of behavioral assessment. The appearance of reflectance meters with memory permits precise, yet efficient, measurement of SMBG behaviors, allowing more effective interventions. This study evaluated a behavioral contract for SMBG compliance among diabetic adolescents, using reflectance meters with memory to assess the target behavior. Thirty patients were randomized to either meter-alone or meter-plus-contract conditions; an additional 12 patients served in a conventional-therapy control group. Compliance for the meter-alone group declined sharply during the 16-week intervention, whereas it remained at or above baseline levels for the meter-plus-contract group. Despite the large between-groups differences in SMBG frequency, both groups showed equal, moderate improvement in measures of diabetic control, suggesting that SMBG frequency had little impact on health status in this sample. There were no intervention-specific effects on overall diabetes compliance or patient or parent adjustment to diabetes. Few of the measured patient characteristics were significant predictors of treatment response. Further research into maximizing the therapeutic impact of SMBG is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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