Sustained type 1 diabetes self-management: Specifying the behaviours involved and their influences

Kathryn Hamilton, Stephanie H. Stanton-Fay, Paul M. Chadwick, Fabiana Lorencatto (Lead / Corresponding author), Nicole de Zoysa, Carla Gianfrancesco, Carolin Taylor, Elizabeth Coates, Jenna Breckenridge, Debbie Cooke, Simon R. Heller, Susan Michie, DAFNEplus study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Aims: Sustained engagement in type 1 diabetes self-management behaviours is a critical element in achieving improvements in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and minimising risk of complications. Evaluations of self-management programmes, such as Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE), typically find that initial improvements are rarely sustained beyond 12 months. This study identified behaviours involved in sustained type 1 diabetes self-management, their influences and relationships to each other.

Methods: A mixed-methods study was conducted following the first two steps of the Behaviour Change Wheel framework. First, an expert stakeholder consultation identified behaviours involved in self-management of type 1 diabetes. Second, three evidence sources (systematic review, healthcare provider-generated ‘red flags’ and participant-generated ‘frequently asked questions’) were analysed to identify and synthesise modifiable barriers and enablers to sustained self-management. These were characterised according to the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model.

Results: 150 distinct behaviours were identified and organised into three self-regulatory behavioural cycles, reflecting different temporal and situational aspects of diabetes selfmanagement: Routine (e.g. checking blood glucose), Reactive (e.g. treating hypoglycaemia) and Reflective (e.g. reviewing blood glucose data to identify patterns). Thirty-four barriers and five enablers were identified: 10 relating to Capability, 20 to Opportunity and nine to Motivation.

Conclusions: Multiple behaviours within three self-management cycles are involved in sustained type 1 diabetes self-management. There are a wide range of barriers and enablers that should be addressed to support self-management behaviours and improve clinical outcomes. The present study provides an evidence base for refining and developing type 1 diabetes self-management programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14430
Number of pages12
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2020


  • Type 1 diabetes
  • behaviour
  • self-management
  • health behaviour
  • health education
  • structured education
  • behaviour change

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