Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine diabetes illness perceptions among a sample of at-risk adults according to specific characteristics that make them vulnerable to diabetes. At-risk adults (N = 372) participated in a study investigating the potential to screen them for diabetes at a large urban dental college. Sociodemographic and individual-level diabetes risk-related characteristics, A1C measures, diabetes-related symptoms, diabetes knowledge, diabetes illness perceptions, and perceived causes of diabetes were collected and reported for the study sample; t tests were then used to determine whether there were statistically significant differences in each of 8 dimensions of diabetes illness perceptions according to the presence or absence of 6 diabetes risk factors. Average A1C values were 5.6% (38 mmol/mol), and 46% of the study sample had A1C values in the prediabetes or diabetes range. Participants had various diabetes knowledge gaps and misperceptions, and there were differences in dimensions of diabetes illness perceptions depending on specific diabetes-related risk factors. In view of differences in the diabetes-related illness perceptions of persons at risk for diabetes, it is important for diabetes educators and other health care providers to personalize their diabetes-related education, management, and support to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of at-risk patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)