The purpose of this study was to identify specific beliefs that differentiate health-care professionals whose attitudes toward diabetes agreed most strongly with a group of national diabetes experts from those whose attitudes disagreed most strongly.

Research Design and Methods

The sample for this study included 271 physicians, 834 nurses, and 546 dietitians who completed a Diabetes Attitudes Survey. The sample included specialists in diabetes care and nonspecialists. Controversial beliefs about diabetes and its care were determined by comparing the beliefs of the 10% of the sample whose attitudes were most concordant (with the national panel) with the beliefs of the 10% of the sample whose attitudes were the most discordant. Ten beliefs met the criteria for being defined as controversial.


The most controversial beliefs concerned whether the patient or the physician should be the primary decision maker in diabetes care, the meaning of patient noncompliance, and the seriousness of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The 10% of the sample with the most discordant attitudes contained a disproportionately large number of physicians, nonspecialists in diabetes, and health-care professionals who had been in practice longer than the other members of the sample.


This study identifies some important differences in beliefs between younger health-care professionals who specialize in diabetes and older nonspecialists. Such beliefs should be addressed in continuing education programs with the aim being to foster the widespread adoption of a contemporary approach to diabetes care.

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