Overcoming obstacles to behavior change in diabetes self-management

Diabetes Educ. Mar-Apr 2003;29(2):303-11. doi: 10.1177/014572170302900221.


Purpose: This study describes how 5 individuals with type 2 diabetes overcame obstacles that interfered with maintaining behavior changes in diet, exercise, and self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG).

Methods: In-depth interviews provided the framework for this descriptive study. During audiotaped, face-to-face, follow-up structured and unstructured interviews, the participants shared their experiences about obstacles encountered and strategies used to overcome them. Each case was examined independently, and all cases were then compared with each other.

Results: Obstacles that interfered with maintaining a diet plan were hunger, planned and unplanned meal events, and the desire for new foods. Physical illness and unexpected life events were obstacles to maintaining an exercise and SMBG plan.

Conclusions: Health professionals who assist patients who are beginning behavior change or having difficult maintaining changes need to have an understanding of the various obstacles and how patients can maintain behavior changes over time.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / rehabilitation*
  • Diet, Diabetic
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Self Care*