Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the value of peer coaching and its influence on behavior change.
Methods: Coaches who were known to be successfully managing their diabetes were paired with individuals who were struggling with behavior change associated with managing diabetes. The pairs were matched according to age, sex, and physical appearance. Coaches met initially with participants in a face-to-face meeting for 1 hour and talked with them once a week for 10 to 15 minutes for the next 8 weeks. The initial interview and subsequent phone conversations focused on the person's problems and efforts at behavior change.
Results: At the end of the study, the pairs participated in a videotaped focus group to discuss their views on coaching and its influence on behavior change. Participants reported that coaching was personal, useful in disease management, and helpful in their quest to establish and adhere to routines of care. Participants also reported making progress toward changing their behavior related to diet, exercise, and blood glucose monitoring. Sustained behavior change was not measured.
Conclusions: Peer coaching appears to have merit as a viable, low-cost intervention with the potential of helping individuals with diabetes who need to change their behavior.