Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and effectiveness of behavioral goal choices in the self-management of diabetes and to test goal-setting theory hypotheses that self-selection and behavioral specificity of goals are key to enhancing persistence.
Methods: Participants with type 2 diabetes in a randomized controlled trial (n = 422) completed baseline behavioral assessments using a clinic-based, interactive, self-management CD-ROM that allowed them to select a behavioral goal and receive mail and telephone support for the initial 6 months of the trial followed by additional behavioral assessments. Frequency of behavioral goal selection and 6-month behavioral data were collected.
Results: Approximately 49%, 27%, and 24% of the participants, respectively, set goals to increase physical activity (PA), reduce fat intake, or increase fruits and vegetables (F&V) consumed. At baseline, participants who selected PA, reduced fat consumption, or F&V were significantly, and respectively, less active, consumed more dietary fat, and ate fewer F&V regardless of demographic characteristics. Participants who selected a reduced-fat goal showed a significantly larger decrease than did those that selected PA or F&V goals. Participants who selected an F&V goal showed significant changes in F&V consumption. Participants who selected a PA goal demonstrated significant changes in days of moderate and vigorous physical activity.
Conclusions: When participants are provided with information on health behavior status and an option of behavioral goals for managing type 2 diabetes, they will select personally appropriate goals, resulting in significant behavioral changes over a 6-month period.