Peer supporters for cardiac patients with diabetes: a randomized controlled trial

Int Nurs Rev. 2012 Sep;59(3):345-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2012.00998.x. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


Aims: To determine whether incorporation of patient peer supporters in a Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program (Peer-CDSMP) led to greater improvement in self-efficacy, knowledge and self-management behaviour in the intervention group compared to a control group.

Background: Promoting improved self-management for those with diabetes and a cardiac condition is enhanced by raising motivation and providing a model. Peer support from former patients who are able to successfully manage similar conditions could enhance patient motivation to achieve better health outcomes and provide a model of how such management can be achieved. While studies on peer support have demonstrated the potential of peers in promoting self-management, none have examined the impact on patients with two co-morbidities.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was used to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of the Peer-CDSMP from August 2009 to December 2010. Thirty cardiac patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited. The study commenced in an acute hospital, follow-up at participants' homes in Brisbane, Australia.

Results: While both the control and intervention groups had improved self-care behaviour, self-efficacy and knowledge, the improvement in knowledge was significantly greater for the intervention group.

Conclusions: Significant improvement in knowledge was achieved for the intervention group. Absence of significant improvements in self-efficacy and self-care behaviour represents an inconclusive effect; further studies with larger sample sizes are recommended.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Peer Group
  • Self Care*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self-Help Groups*