Effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing on Improving Care for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients in China

2019-10-15 11:11:05 | BioPortfolio


The International Diabetes Federation estimated that there were nearly 110 million diabetes mellitus (DM) patients in China, which was the highest number recorded in the world. In response to the rising patient numbers and costs, the Chinese government has invested heavily in primary healthcare, with the goal of improving chronic disease management in the primary care settings. A key part of the primary care improvement program prioritizes health education as a route to lifestyle modification. Although the content and modes of delivery vary enormously, most of the programs focused on providing information rather than facilitating patient change. The impacts of traditional patient education on lifestyle modification and changes in psychological status have been reported to be suboptimal. It is therefore necessary to rethink and explore a more structured, patient-centered approach to health education at improving the outcomes of DM control.

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, patient-centered counseling approach that aims to elicit behavior change.The focus of MI is to find and resolve the ambivalence, improve patients' perception of the importance of behavior change, and support them to make the change. MI provides a structural framework with guiding principles that can be easily followed by the primary care doctors. Some studies show that MI can contribute to improve healthy eating, weight control and increases in physical activity, but most research focused on intermediate outcome measures and did not evaluate the readiness to change. MI can be utilized by a variety of healthcare providers, which makes it adaptable for different culture and clinical settings. The effectiveness of MI in Chinese diabetic patients remains uncertain.Therefore, in this study, we adopted the group MI approach and developed a patient empowerment program (PEP) utilizing the techniques and framework of MI. We compared this to the most common form of DM education in China, a lecture on DM to patients and their carers in a hospital lecture theatre in a didactic manner. The study aimed to assess the effectiveness of the MI approach in terms of patient lifestyle modification and improving DM controls compared to the control group in a non-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) design.


This RCT was implemented from May 2016 to April 2017 in Shenzhen, China. Shenzhen is the fourth-biggest city in China, with a rapidly expanding population of 12 million people and the highest GDP in the country. Most DM patients in China are managed at Endocrine Specialist hospital clinics, while the more stable patients are treated in the community. Therefore, we chose an endocrine specialist outpatient clinic and a family medicine clinic at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital (HKU-SZH), as well as three community health centers in the Luohu district as the sampling frame. DM patients were recruited by doctors at consultations. This is because health education lectures are one of the routine diabetes management strategies used by healthcare providers in China and patients are normally invited by their doctors to attend these lectures.

Sample size estimation was calculated based on the previous published research conducted elsewhere in which the DM patients were given MI-guided behavior change counselling. The "Problem Areas in Diabetes" (PAID) score in that study was 29±22.64 in the intervention group vs. 29±24.32 in the control group. Therefore, 192 participants were needed to detect 10% effect size with an alpha of 0.05 and a power of 80.0%. With 15% of loss to follow-up anticipated, a total of 225 participants were targeted.

Descriptive statistics were used to summarize characteristics of the participants. We analyzed the baseline data of the intervention and control groups to determine the consistency of the characteristics across the two groups of patients. The t-test was used for continuous variables such as waist circumference, body weight, and BMI, whereas chi-squared test was used for categorical variables in stages of change such as smoking, drinking, and exercise. Changes in PAID and PEI in post-intervention and follow-ups between the two groups were calculated and tested.

When analyzing the two sets of variables in the intervention and control groups, we followed the principle of intent-to-treat analysis i.e. if the participant failed to participate in all four modules, the first questionnaire results would be assumed and analyzed as the final data, using the mixed design analysis of variance. In detecting the relationship between the continuity variable and categorical variable, we used bivariate correlation analyses. All analyses were performed in SPSS 20.0. We used p value<0.05 as the cut-off point of statistical significance.

Study Design


Diabete Type 2


Motivational interviewing (MI)-based patient empowerment program (PEP), Traditional lecture style health education




The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-10-15T11:11:05-0400

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It is a client-centered, directive method for eliciting intrinsic motivation to change using open-ended questions, reflective listening, and decisional balancing. This nonjudgmental, nonconfrontational interviewing style is designed to minimize a patient's resistance to change by creating an interaction that supports open discussion of risky or problem behavior.

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