The effectiveness of social media intervention in people with diabetes: An integrative review

J Clin Nurs. 2022 May 11. doi: 10.1111/jocn.16354. Online ahead of print.


Aim: This integrative review aimed to synthesise the available quantitative and qualitative studies on the effectiveness of diabetes self-management education (DSME) delivered through social media on glycaemic control (HbA1c), knowledge, health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL), anxiety, depression and self-efficacy in people with diabetes mellitus.

Background: DSME is the main component of diabetes management which contributes to behavioural changes and the improvement of metabolic control and self-monitoring skills. Due to limited face-to-face access to healthcare services, social media has increasingly been used to deliver DSME for people with diabetes. However, there is a paucity of reviews addressing the effectiveness of using social media in delivering DSME.

Design: An integrative review was conducted based on Whittemore and Knafl's (2005) methodology.

Methods: The following databases were searched for relevant studies published between 2000 and 2020: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, EMBASE, EMCare and Google Scholar. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. The PRISMA checklist for systematic reviews was used.

Results: A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Facebook and WhatsApp were the most common social media platforms used to deliver DSME intervention. Nurses were the most frequent DSME providers. The duration and content of DSME in the reviewed studies varied. Consistent positive outcomes were found on glycaemic control, diabetic knowledge and self-efficacy. No studies considered the effect of DSME on HRQoL, anxiety and depression.

Conclusions: Social media DSME can be effective in reducing HbA1c levels, increasing diabetic knowledge and self-efficacy. Further studies are needed to examine the effectiveness of using social media to deliver DSME intervention on HRQoL, anxiety and depression.

Relevance to clinical practice: This review provides nurses and healthcare professionals with evidence to support the use of social media to deliver DSME for people with diabetes. DSME delivered via social media supported by nurses would overcome limitations of face-to-face delivery such as geographical distance, travelling time, or other limited resources by patients with diabetes.

Keywords: HbA1c; depression and anxiety; diabetic education; diabetic knowledge; people with diabetes; self-efficacy; social media.