Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Living with diabetes: a group-based self-management support programme for T2DM patients in the early phases of illness and their partners, study protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Anne L van Puffelen1*, Mieke Rijken1, Monique JWM Heijmans1, Giel Nijpels2, Guy EHM Rutten3 and François G Schellevis12

Author Affiliations

1 NIVEL, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, PO Box 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Department of General Practice & Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:144  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-144

Published: 1 April 2014



The present article presents the protocol for a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a group-based self-management support programme for recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients (one to three years post-diagnosis) and their partners. The course aims to support T2DM patients and their partners in successfully integrating diabetes care into their daily lives and hereby enhance self-management and diabetes-specific health-related quality of life. The content of the course is based on the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation (CSM). Furthermore, principles from the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and social support theories are integrated.


We aim to recruit 160 recently diagnosed T2DM patients and their partners from general practices in six different regions in the Netherlands. Patients need to be diagnosed with T2DM for one to three years and have to experience some degree of diabetes-related difficulties, as measured with a three-item screener. Participating patients and their partners are randomly allocated to the intervention or control condition. Participants in the intervention condition receive three monthly group sessions and a booster session three months later. Participants in the control condition receive a single information meeting. Data will be collected at baseline (T0), directly after the programme (T1) and six months post-programme (T2), including: self-management, diabetes-specific health-related quality of life, illness perceptions, attitudes, social support and empowerment. A three-level multilevel model will be used to compare change-scores between the conditions (intervention/control) on each outcome.


Our study will be the first to determine whether a group-based support programme based on the CSM is effective in enhancing self-management and diabetes-specific health-related quality of life in recently diagnosed T2DM patients. The important role of patients’ partners in effective diabetes care is also acknowledged in the study.

Trial registration

Netherlands National Trial Register (NTR) NTR3302.

Diabetes; Randomised controlled trial; Illness perceptions; Partner support; Self-management; Health-related quality of life