Measuring Self-Care in Persons With Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review

Yan Lu, Jiayun Xu, Weigang Zhao, Hae Ra Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This systematic review examines the characteristics and psychometric properties of the instruments used to assess self-care behaviors among persons with type 2 diabetes. Electronic databases were searched for relevant studies published in English within the past 20 years. Thirty different instruments were identified in 75 articles: 18 original instruments on type 2 diabetes mellitus self-care, 8 translated or revised version, and 4 not specific but relevant to diabetes. Twenty-one instruments were multidimensional and addressed multiple dimensions of self-care behavior. Nine were unidimensional: three focusing exclusively on medication taking, three on diet, one on physical activity, one on self-monitoring of blood glucose, and one on oral care. Most instruments (22 of 30) were developed during the last decade. Only 10 were repeated more than once. Nineteen of the 30 instruments reported both reliability and validity information but with varying degrees of rigor. In conclusion, most instruments used to measure self-care were relatively new and had been applied to only a limited number of studies with incomplete psychometric profiles. Rigorous psychometric testing, operational definition of self-care, and sufficient explanation of scoring need to be considered for further instrument development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-184
Number of pages54
JournalEvaluation and the Health Professions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • instrument
  • self-care
  • self-report
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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