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Open Access Study protocol

Diabetes MILES – The Netherlands: rationale, design and sample characteristics of a national survey examining the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes in Dutch adults

Giesje Nefs1, Mariska Bot12, Jessica L Browne34, Jane Speight345 and François Pouwer1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University, PO BOX 90153 5000, LE, Tilburg, The Netherlands

2 Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center and GGZ in Geest, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, Diabetes Australia – Vic, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

4 Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia

5 AHP Research, Hornchurch, Essex, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:925  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-925

Published: 30 October 2012

Abstract

Background

As the number of people with diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide, a more thorough understanding of the psychosocial aspects of living with this condition has become an important health care priority. While our knowledge has grown substantially over the past two decades with respect to the physical, emotional and social difficulties that people with diabetes may encounter, many important issues remain to be elucidated. Under the umbrella of the Diabetes MILES (Management and Impact for Long-term Empowerment and Success) Study International Collaborative, Diabetes MILES – The Netherlands aims to examine how Dutch adults with diabetes manage their condition and how it affects their lives. Topics of special interest in Diabetes MILES - The Netherlands include subtypes of depression, Type D personality, mindfulness, sleep and sexual functioning.

Methods/design

Diabetes MILES – The Netherlands was designed as a national online observational study among adults with diabetes. In addition to a main set of self-report measures, the survey consisted of five complementary modules to which participants were allocated randomly. From September to October 2011, a total of 3,960 individuals with diabetes (40% type 1, 53% type 2) completed the battery of questionnaires covering a broad range of topics, including general health, self-management, emotional well-being and contact with health care providers. People with self-reported type 1 diabetes (specifically those on insulin pump therapy) were over-represented, as were those using insulin among respondents with self-reported type 2 diabetes. People from ethnic minorities were under-represented. The sex distribution was fairly equal in the total sample, participants spanned a broad age range (19–90 years), and diabetes duration ranged from recent diagnosis to living with the condition for over fifty years.

Discussion

The Diabetes MILES Study enables detailed investigation of the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes and an opportunity to put these findings in an international context. With several papers planned resulting from a pooled Australian-Dutch dataset and data collections planned in other countries, the Diabetes MILES Study International Collaborative will contribute substantially to identifying potentially unmet needs of those living with diabetes and to inform clinical research and care across the globe.

Keywords:
Diabetes; Psychology; Self-care; Well-being; National survey