The goals of this study were to determine whether completion of a community-based diabetes self-management support (DSMS) program delivered through a university Cooperative Extension network increased Patient Activation Measure (PAM) scores and to examine predictors of improvement in PAM score in individuals participating in the DSMS.


The Health Extension for Diabetes (HED) is a 4-month program delivered via a paraprofessional extension agent in partnership with an established diabetes self-management education and support program. The study population included 148 adults (median age 69 years; interquartile range 60–74 years) with diabetes recruited from local community organizations. Data for the analysis were collected before and after participation in the intervention as part of a longitudinal study, using the PAM and Self-Efficacy for Diabetes instruments. Descriptive statistics were gathered, and hypothesis tests and simple and multivariable regression analyses were conducted.


The mean PAM score increased by 6.58 points, with a 5-point change considered clinically significant. From pre- to post-intervention, PAM scores significantly decreased for 23 participants, decreased for 6, did not change for 14, increased for 21, and significantly increased for 84. Higher pre-intervention PAM scores, younger age, greater educational attainment, and higher baseline self-efficacy scores were associated with increased post-intervention PAM scores when not controlling for potential covariates. Age was no longer associated with higher PAM scores after controlling for covariates.


Community-based DSMS interventions can be effective in generating positive change in individuals’ activation. HED provides a feasible and accessible DSMS option that addresses key diabetes self-management components while effectively improving individuals’ activation. It is recommended that people living with diabetes attend a DSMS program such as HED to increase their ability to effectively self-manage various components of their chronic condition.

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