A qualitative study exploring the barriers to attending structured education programmes among adults with Type 2 Diabetes

Imogen Coningsby, Charlotte Dack, Ben Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Diabetes self-management education, a universally recommended component of diabetes care, aims to support self-management in people with type 2 diabetes. However, attendance is low (approx. 10%). Previous research investigating the reasons for low attendance have not yet linked findings to theory, making it difficult to translate findings into practice. This study explores why some adults with type 2 diabetes do not attend diabetes self-management education and considers how services can be adapted accordingly, using Andersen’s Behavioural Model of Health Service Utilisation as a framework. Methods: A cross-sectional semi-structured qualitative interview study was carried out. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone with 14 adults with type 2 diabetes who had verbally declined their invitation to attend diabetes self-management education in Bath and North East Somerset, UK, within the last 2 years. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis before mapping the themes onto the factors of Andersen’s Behavioural Model. Results: Two main themes were identified: ‘perceived need’ and ‘practical barriers’. The former theme explored participants’ tendency to decline diabetes education when they perceived they did not need the programme. This perception tended to arise from participants’ high self-efficacy to manage their type 2 diabetes, the low priority they attributed to their condition and limited knowledge about the programme. The latter theme, ‘practical barriers’, explored the notion that some participants wanted to attend but were unable to due to other commitments and/or transportation issues in getting to the venue. Conclusions: All sub-themes resonated with one or more factors of Andersen’s Behavioural Model indicating that the model may help to elucidate attendance barriers and ways to improve services. To fully understand low attendance to diabetes education, the complex and individualised reasons for non-attendance must be recognised and a person-centred approach should be taken to understand people’s experience, needs and capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number584
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022


  • Adult
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Patient non-attendance
  • Self-management
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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