Problem solving interventions for diabetes self-management and control: A systematic review of the literature

Stephanie L. Fitzpatrick, Kristina P. Schumann, Felicia Hill-Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Aims: Problem solving is deemed a core skill for patient diabetes self-management education. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the published literature on the effect of problem-solving interventions on diabetes self-management and disease control. Data sources: We searched PubMed and PsychINFO electronic databases for English language articles published between November 2006 and September 2012. Reference lists from included studies were reviewed to capture additional studies. Study selection: Studies reporting problem-solving intervention or problem solving as an intervention component for diabetes self-management training and disease control were included. Twenty-four studies met inclusion criteria. Data extraction: Study design, sample characteristics, measures, and results were reviewed. Data synthesis: Sixteen intervention studies (11 adult, 5 children/adolescents) were randomized controlled trials, and 8 intervention studies (6 adult, 2 children/adolescents) were quasi-experimental designs. Conclusions: Studies varied greatly in their approaches to problem-solving use in patient education. To date, 36% of adult problem-solving interventions and 42% of children/adolescent problem-solving interventions have demonstrated significant improvement in HbA1c, while psychosocial outcomes have been more promising. The next phase of problem-solving intervention research should employ intervention characteristics found to have sufficient potency and intensity to reach therapeutic levels needed to demonstrate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-161
Number of pages17
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Problem focused
  • Problem solving
  • Self-care
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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