Self management interventions for type 2 diabetes in adult people with severe mental illness

Hayley McBain, Kathleen Mulligan, Mark Haddad, Chris Flood, Julia Jones, Alan Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: People with severe mental illness are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those without severe mental illness. Treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes recommend that structured education should be integrated into routine care and should be offered to all. However, for people with severe mental illness, physical health may be a low priority, and motivation to change may be limited. These additional challenges mean that the findings reported in previous systematic reviews of diabetes self management interventions may not be generalised to those with severe mental illness, and that tailored approaches to effective diabetes education may be required for this population.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of diabetes self management interventions specifically tailored for people with type 2 diabetes and severe mental illness.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) Search Portal, and grey literature. The date of the last search of all databases was 07 March 2016.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials of diabetes self management interventions for people with type 2 diabetes and severe mental illness.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened abstracts and full-text articles, extracted data and conducted the risk of bias assessment. We used a taxonomy of behaviour change techniques and the framework for behaviour change theory to describe the theoretical basis of the interventions and active ingredients. We used the GRADE method (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation Working Group) to assess trials for overall quality of evidence.

MAIN RESULTS: We included one randomised controlled trial involving 64 participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The average age of participants was 54 years; participants had been living with type 2 diabetes for on average nine years, and with their psychiatric diagnosis since they were on average 28 years of age. Investigators evaluated the 24-week Diabetes Awareness and Rehabilitation Training (DART) programme in comparison with usual care plus information (UCI). Follow-up after trial completion was six months. Risk of bias was mostly unclear but was high for selective reporting. Trial authors did not report on diabetes-related complications, all-cause mortality, adverse events, health-related quality of life nor socioeconomic effects. Twelve months of data on self care behaviours as measured by total energy expenditure showed a mean of 2148 kcal for DART and 1496 kcal for UCI (52 participants; very low-quality evidence), indicating no substantial improvement. The intervention did not have a substantial effect on glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) at 6 or 12 months of follow-up (12-month HbA1c data 7.9% for DART vs 6.9% for UCI; 52 participants; very low-quality evidence). Researchers noted small improvements in body mass index immediately after the intervention was provided and at six months, along with improved weight post intervention. Diabetes knowledge and self efficacy improved immediately following receipt of the intervention, and knowledge also at six months. The intervention did not improve blood pressure.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Evidence is insufficient to show whether type 2 diabetes self management interventions for people with severe mental illness are effective in improving outcomes. Researchers must conduct additional trials to establish efficacy, and to identify the active ingredients in these interventions and the people most likely to benefit from them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD011361
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2016


  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care


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