Diabetes self-management education for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review of the effect on glycemic control

Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Jun;99(6):926-43. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 22.


Objective: Assess effect of diabetes self-management education and support methods, providers, duration, and contact time on glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Method: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, ERIC, and PsycINFO to December 2013 for interventions which included elements to improve participants' knowledge, skills, and ability to perform self-management activities as well as informed decision-making around goal setting.

Results: This review included 118 unique interventions, with 61.9% reporting significant changes in A1C. Overall mean reduction in A1C was 0.74 and 0.17 for intervention and control groups; an average absolute reduction in A1C of 0.57. A combination of group and individual engagement results in the largest decreases in A1C (0.88). Contact hours ≥10 were associated with a greater proportion of interventions with significant reduction in A1C (70.3%). In patients with persistently elevated glycemic values (A1C>9), a greater proportion of studies reported statistically significant reduction in A1C (83.9%).

Conclusions: This systematic review found robust data demonstrating that engagement in diabetes self-management education results in a statistically significant decrease in A1C levels.

Practice implications: The data suggest mode of delivery, hours of engagement, and baseline A1C can affect the likelihood of achieving statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in A1C.

Keywords: Control; Diabetes self-management education; Glycemic; Systematic review; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Self Care / methods*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human