Objective: To investigate the influence of psychological aspects on glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients treated with diet alone or diet plus oral antidiabetic medication using meal-related self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG). These psychological aspects refer to the process of self-management including the tendency to structure situations and activate resources (self-perception), to accept options for action (self-reflection) and to believe in self-efficacy (self-regulation).
Methods: In a randomized controlled 6-month group comparison study, one group (n = 113; mean age 58.7 years) used a blood glucose monitoring device, kept a blood glucose/eating diary and received standardized counseling focusing on self-perception, self-reflection and self-regulation. A control group (n = 110; mean age 60.5 years) received non-standardized counseling on diet and lifestyle.
Results: Statistically significant endpoint differences between the SMBG and the control group were seen in glycemic control (p = 0.0086) and the well-being item 'depression' (p = 0.032). All aspects of counseling were influenced by SMBG with the extent of self-perception and self-reflection gradually increasing over time. Three HbA1c response types were identified among SMBG patients: continuous-achievers, late-achievers and non-achievers.
Conclusion: This study identified processes (structuring the situation and activating resources, accepting options for action and believing in self-efficacy) which lead to a change in the metabolic profile. SMBG coupled with structured counseling provided patients with a tool for taking on more self-control and resulted in an improved outlook on life.
Practice implications: This short-term intervention involved a structured counseling algorithm which requires 5-10 min of physician-patient contact and a structured documentation of metabolic control by the patient and can be taught by a diabetes training team within 4 h. The identification of the different response types might be of importance in clinical practice as it enables the physician to determine the right counseling option.