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11-10-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Planning, problem-solving ability predict diabetes self-management behaviors


Free abstract

MedWire News: Specific cognitive abilities, particularly planning and problem-solving, play an important role in diabetes self-management, report researchers.

Furthermore, these psychological factors seem to be related to self-management independently of depression.

Previous studies have not specifically investigated the complex interaction between cognition and emotions in diabetes self-management, despite recognition that they are related to the process, write Simona Primožič (University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia) and colleagues.

As reported in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, the team recruited 98 patients with Type 2 diabetes and measured diabetes self-management, depression, diabetes distress, and cognitive function.

Primožič and co-workers identified factors that related most significantly to diabetes self-management, as defined by the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities measure.

In univariate analysis, body mass index (BMI), depressive symptoms, and poor planning and problem-solving ability were significantly negatively associated with diabetes self-management.

Conversely, immediate memory, visuo-spatial/constructional abilities, and attention span were significantly positively associated with diabetes self-management.

Depression and poor planning and problem-solving were the emotional and cognitive factors most strongly associated with diabetes self-management and the researchers therefore built them into a multivariate regression model for further analysis.

The strongest independent predictors of better diabetes self- management were lower BMI, better planning and problem solving, absence of major depression, and female gender.

"The present study, to the best of our best knowledge, is the first to specify particular cognitive functions that influence diabetes self-management," write Primožič and team.

The authors say that patients with Type 2 diabetes and lower cognitive abilities are more likely to have difficulties in understanding and remembering instructions and in planning their daily activities and resolving diabetes-related problems.

"Assessing patients' cognitive abilities, adjusted self-management education, and the development of focused cognitive interventions may be of value to patients with inefficacious diabetes self-management," they conclude.

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By Sally Robertson