The specific aims of the present study were to report on the level of personal beliefs and social and environmental barriers across different regimen areas and patient subgroups and on the relationship of personal models and perceived barriers to the level of self-management.


This study focused on several issues related to personal models (representations of illness) and perceived barriers to diabetes self-management among a large heterogeneous survey sample of 2,056 adults throughout the U.S.


Respondents felt that diabetes was a serious disease and that their self-management activities will control their diabetes and reduce the likelihood of long-term complications. Most frequently reported barriers were related to dietary adherence, followed by exercise and glucose testing barriers. Both personal models and barriers significantly predicted level of self-management in all three regimen areas studied (diet, exercise, and glucose testing) after controlling for the influence of demographic and medical history factors. Regimen-specific models and barriers proved to be stronger predictors than more global measures. Differences on personal models and barriers were observed among different patient groups (e.g., age, health insurance, and insulin-taking status). Possible reasons for these differences and implications for intervention and future research are discussed.


Both the personal-model and barriers scales had good internal consistency and predicted variance in each of the self-management variables after controlling for demographic and medical history factors. These brief self-report personal-model scales demonstrated good internal reliability and were as predictive of self-management as the lengthier interview-based measures in previous studies. The assessment of the treatment effectiveness component of personal models may be sufficient for most clinical purposes.

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