Measuring psychological insulin resistance: barriers to insulin use

Diabetes Educ. May-Jun 2008;34(3):511-7. doi: 10.1177/0145721708317869.


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the attitudes that contribute to psychological insulin resistance (PIR) in insulin-naive patients with type 2 diabetes and to identify predictors of PIR.

Methods: A prospective study using 2 self-report surveys and incorporating demographic and health variables was conducted to determine the prevalence of PIR among a sample of 100 adult, insulin-naive patients with type 2 diabetes at an outpatient diabetes center in a university-affiliated teaching hospital.

Results: Thirty-three percent of patients with type 2 diabetes were unwilling to take insulin. The most commonly expressed negative attitudes were concern regarding hypoglycemia, permanent need for insulin therapy, less flexibility, and feelings of failure. Less than 40% expressed fear of self-injection or thought that injections were painful. However, compared with willing subjects, unwilling subjects were more likely to fear injections and thought injections would be painful, life would be less flexible, and taking insulin meant health would deteriorate (P< .005 for all comparisons). Poorer general health and higher depression scores also correlated with PIR.

Conclusions: The results of the surveys, which were generally consistent, identified several remediable misconceptions regarding insulin therapy and suggest targets for educational interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous / psychology*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Middle Aged


  • Insulin