Life experiences influence diabetes self-management

MU Sinclair School of Nursing assistant professor Laurel Despins explains how eyewitness experiences can affect how individuals manage diabetes.

October 2, 2020


Pate McCuien: Diabetes not only increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, it can also increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. To help diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels, MU nursing professor Laurel Despins interviewed individuals with type 2 diabetes about their understanding of the disease and their approach toward self-management.

She found those who had previous life experience watching a friend or relative manage diabetes influenced how they viewed diabetes management themselves.

Despins: “A key takeaway was the impact that their experience interacting with friends or family or neighbors with diabetes and how they observed those other people taking care of themselves, that seemed to shape their own personal attitudes regarding their management of their condition.”

McCuien: In addition to considering how life experiences impact diabetes self-management, Despins added that health care providers should be cognizant of the financial constraints their patients may be under.

Despins: “You start with a basic information package but then you have to make the package individualized according to the person’s circumstances. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is optimal, however there are financial restraints in many of these people, so that has to be taken into consideration in collaborating with the individual in making a plan that is best for them.”

McCuien: I’m Pate McCuien, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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