Diabetes self-management is the cornerstone of overall diabetes management. Yet many questions concerning self-management remain unanswered. The current study was designed to examine several questions about diabetes self-management: 1) What do individuals report being told to do? 2) What are their self-reported levels and patterns of self-care? 3) Are there differences on self-reported self-management recommendations and levels across various subgroups?


Mailed surveys were returned by 2,056 individuals (73.4% response rate). Of the total, 13.8% had IDDM and the remainder had NIDDM, with 65% of the NIDDM group using insulin.


The levels and patterns of self-management were consistent with those found in previous studies, i.e., individuals most regularly followed their prescribed medication regimen and least regularly followed recommendations for lifestyle changes of diet and exercise. There were significant differences on reported self-management recommendations across different subgroups. Comparisons on level of self-management across diabetes type revealed significant differences for diet and glucose testing. Differences were also found on self-management levels for a number of individual characteristics, including age, working status, and type of insurance, along with knowledge of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial findings.


These findings provide important information on perceived self-management recommendations and the specific self-management levels and patterns in individuals with diabetes. The current findings may help health professionals better understand the levels and correlates of diabetes self-management and direct future research.

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