Coaching and Education for Diabetes Distress (CEDD): Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

JMIR Res Protoc. 2019 Apr 2;8(4):e12166. doi: 10.2196/12166.


Background: Diabetes distress (DD), a type of psychological distress specific to people with diabetes, is strongly associated with difficulties in performing self-care and inability to meet glycemic targets. Despite increased recognition of the need to manage DD, interventions that are both feasible and effective for reducing DD in routine care settings are not yet known. A pilot study showed that health coaching (HC) has some efficacy in addressing DD, but no adequately powered study has implemented a pragmatic research design capable of assessing the real-world effectiveness of HC in reducing DD.

Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the rationale and design of an ongoing clinical trial, Coaching and Education for Diabetes Distress trial, that seeks to assess whether HC effectively reduces DD among primary care patients with diabetes and whether HC is more effective than an educational program targeting DD.

Methods: The 2-arm randomized controlled trial is taking place at an academic family medicine practice in Houston, Texas. Both arms will receive usual care, which includes education about DD. In addition, the intervention arm will receive 8 HC sessions over a 5-month period. The primary outcome measure is reduction in DD over a 6-month period. Additional outcome measures include changes in hemoglobin A1c and self-care practices (medication-taking, dietary, and physical activity behaviors).

Results: As of March 2019, screening and recruitment are ongoing, and the results are expected by July 2020.

Conclusions: HC is feasible in primary care and has been successfully applied to improving chronic disease self-management and outcomes. This study will provide evidence as to whether it has significant value in addressing important unmet psychological and behavioral needs of patients with diabetes.

Trial registration: NCT03617146; (Archived by WebCite at

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/12166.

Keywords: behavioral medicine; coaching; counselling; diabetes distress; diabetes mellitus, type 2; health coaching; health education; health psychology; primary care; self care.

Associated data