Published Papers - Abstract 453

Byles J, Young A & Lowe J. Women's knowledge and self-management of diabetes. , 2010; : 46-65

Self management of diabetes is an essential component of diabetes care, and to achieve good self-care people with diabetes should be knowledgeable about the purpose and clinical utility of diagnostic tests and monitoring. In this study we sought to identifY and describe women's attitudes to diabetes, their knowledge of diabetes, their self management behaviours, and their health outcomes and, to explore the interrelationship between these factors. The study involved analysis of survey data from 223 women aged 50-55 years, and 655 women aged 75-80 years participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, who reported having diabetes. Survey data included socio-demographic and health variables, type and duration of diabetes, level and frequency of diabetes care, knowledge, attitudes and self-care practices, and access to diabetes-related health services and diabetes education services. Most women expressed positive attitudes regarding their adjustment to having diabetes although a large proportion of women did not engage in appropriate behaviours and preventive activities. In general the women in both age groups had less than optimal levels of knowledge, although women who had attended a diabetes education centre had better knowledge scores. Better knowledge was correlated with better behaviours (in both age groups) and with better health outcomes (among older women). The results of the study indicate that, at a community level, there is a great need to improve knowledge and behaviours among-the-growing population of women with diabetes, particularly those with Type II diabetes and older people. The results also provide strong support for the work of diabetes education centres.