Motivation and diabetes self-management

Chronic Illn. 2010 Sep;6(3):202-14. doi: 10.1177/1742395310375630. Epub 2010 Jul 30.


Objective: To examine the relationship between autonomous motivation and diabetes self-care activities among individuals with diabetes.

Methods: Seventy-seven individuals recruited from outpatient clinic registries (64% female, 77% Caucasian, mean age 63 years) completed measures of diabetes-related self-care (Summary of Diabetes Self-care Activities), motivation (Treatment Self-regulation Questionnaire), health literacy (Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Newest Vital Sign), health (SF-36v2), social support (Social Support Survey) and self-efficacy (Perceived Competence Scale).

Results: Autonomous motivation was the only variable significantly associated with maintaining diet (p<0.0001) and blood glucose testing (p<0.04) in regression analyses. No significant associations were identified for exercise. The variable of age approached significance (p = 0.06), with older individuals being less likely to have exercised in the past week.

Discussion: Individuals in this study had difficulty in maintaining self-care demands, especially exercise. Meeting recommended levels of self-care activity was challenging, even for patients with adequate levels of health literacy. Individuals with higher levels of autonomous motivation reported higher frequencies for maintaining diet and testing blood glucose, however, which supports the utility of Self-Determination Theory in promoting diabetes self-care.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diet, Diabetic
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires