Variation in perceived competence, glycemic control, and patient satisfaction: relationship to autonomy support from physicians

Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Apr;57(1):39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2004.04.001.


There is considerable variation in care provided to patients with diabetes related to metabolic control, preventive services, and degree of patient-centered support. This study evaluates the relation of self-determination theory (SDT) constructs of clinician autonomy support, and patient competence to glycemic control, depressive symptoms, and patient satisfaction from baseline surveys of 634 patients of 31 Colorado primary care physicians participating in a program to improve diabetes care. Spearman correlations of autonomy support from one's clinician with patient competence, HbA1c, depressive symptoms and satisfaction were significant (R = -0.11 to 0.55, P < 0.005). Structural equation modeling demonstrated that autonomy support was significantly related to perceived competence, depressive symptoms, patient satisfaction, and indirectly to glycemic control. Perceived competence was significantly related to depressive symptoms, patient satisfaction and glycemic control. Further, the motivation constructs from SDT accounted for 5% of the variance in glycemic control, 8% of the variance in depression, and 42% of the variance in patient satisfaction. Quality improvement efforts need to pay greater attention to patient competence, satisfaction, and depression, in addition to glycemic control. Clinician autonomy support was found to be reliably measured and moderately correlated with psychosocial and biologic outcomes related to diabetes self-management. These results suggest training clinicians to increase their support of patient autonomy may be one important avenue to improve diabetes outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Colorado
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / psychology
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Care / standards
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Support*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A