Relationships between patient activation, disease-specific knowledge and health outcomes among people with diabetes; a survey study

BMC Health Serv Res. 2014 Sep 16:14:393. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-14-393.


Background: Nowadays, patients are expected to be involved in their health care, well-informed and able to adjust their behavior to maintain a good health. Investigating patient activation and its relationships with patient characteristics and health-related outcomes will provide further insight into the gains to be expected if patients are more involved in their healthcare.

Methods: Based on claims data, 5,346 people were selected who received diabetes care in the last 12 months. They received a questionnaire including the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) and questions on patient characteristics, life style and self-management behaviors, knowledge about diabetes, healthcare utilization and own clinical values. We used bivariate analyses and regression analyses to investigate the relationships between patient characteristics, patient activation level, and health-related outcomes.

Results: Data of 1,845 (35%) people were used in the analyses. Patient activation differed depending upon several patient characteristics. Patient activation level was positively related to getting the recommended feet and eye examinations after controlling for several patient characteristics; no association was found for life-style and self-management behaviors and the other healthcare utilization measures. Those with a low patient activation level less often reported to have knowledge about diabetes and of their values on clinical indicators.

Conclusions: Among people with diabetes, patient activation level was especially related to disease-specific knowledge and less with health-related behavior and outcomes. The PAM might therefore especially be an useful instrument for clinical practice to identify patients most in need for diabetes education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult