Relationship of diabetes-specific knowledge to self-management activities, ambulatory preventive care, and metabolic outcomes

Stephen D. Persell, Nancy L. Keating*, Mary Beth Landrum, Bruce E. Landon, John Z. Ayanian, Catherine Borbas, Edward Guadagnoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background. Educational interventions increase diabetes patients' knowledge and self-care activities, but their impact on the use of health services to prevent diabetes complications is unclear. We sought to determine the relationship of patients' diabetes-specific knowledge with self-management behaviors, use of ambulatory preventive care, and metabolic outcomes. Methods. We surveyed 670 adults with diabetes from three managed care plans to assess diabetes knowledge (using an eight-item scale) and self-management activities. With chart review, we assessed five processes of care - retinal and foot examinations, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) testing, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing, and urine microalbumin testing - and three metabolic outcomes - HbA1c ≤9.5%, LDL-C <130 mg/dL (3.36 mmol/L), and last blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg. Results. In adjusted analyses, a one-point increase on the knowledge scale was associated with following a diabetes diet (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.10-1.38), blood glucose self-measurement (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.13-1.48), and regular exercise (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.03-1.28) but not with processes of care or metabolic outcomes. Conclusions. Knowledgeable patients were more likely to perform self-management activities but not to receive recommended ambulatory care or reach metabolic outcome goals. Providing patient education about diabetes care processes should be tested as a means of increasing ambulatory care to prevent diabetes complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-752
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Patient education
  • Quality of care
  • Self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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