Aims/hypothesis: To describe the clinical, psychological and social factors affecting diabetes knowledge of veterans with established Type 2 diabetes.
Methods: We conducted an observational study of 284 insulin-treated veterans with stable Type 2 diabetes. All subjects completed the University of Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Centre Knowledge Test, the Diabetes Care Profile, the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Diabetes Family Behaviour Checklist. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to develop a model for the diabetes knowledge score based upon clinical and psychosocial variables.
Results: One hundred eighty subjects were evaluated in a derivation set. The mean age +/- SD was 65.4+/-9.6 years, 94% were men, and 36% were members of a minority group. Performance on the diabetes knowledge test was poor (64.9+/-15.3% correct). Self-perceived understanding of all management objectives explained only 6% of the variance in the knowledge scores. Multivariate analysis showed that age, years of schooling, duration of treatment, cognitive function, sex, and level of depression were independent determinants of the knowledge score. When the model was applied to 104 subjects in a validation set, there was a strong correlation between observed and predicted scores (r=0.537; p<0.001).
Conclusions/interpretation: Stable, insulin-treated veterans have major deficiencies in diabetes knowledge that could impair their ability to provide self-care. A multivariate model comprised of demographic variables and psychosocial profiling can identify patients who have limited diabetes knowledge and be used to assess individual barriers to ongoing diabetes education.