Measuring Perceptions of Diabetes-Related Concepts: A Preliminary Study

James T. Fitzgerald, Larry D. Gruppen, Linda A. Wray, Barbara R. Shay, Robert M. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE this pilot study explored health professionals' and patients' perceptions of diabetes through the development of the Diabetes Semantic Differential Scales (DSDS). These scales evaluate the meaning of diabetes-related concepts. METHODS Health professionals (n=39) attending a CME course completed the health professional version of the DSDS. Patients (n=70) completed the patient version of the DSDS. RESULTS The reliability of the DSDS was supported. The scale scores of health professionals, African American patients, and Caucasian patients, examined initially by one-way analyses of variance, showed significant differences among the groups for 4 of the 18 diabetes concepts. Effect sizes were also examined among these groups. For 7 concepts, there was a significant practical difference between the perceptions of the health professionals and the African American patients. For the Caucasian patients, differences were noted for 6 concepts. CONCLUSIONS There are 3 primary inferences from this pilot study. First, health professionals and patients are likely to hold different perceptions of key diabetes concepts. Second, the concepts on which professionals and patients differ are not always what one would expect. Third, health professionals should clarify patients' understanding of diabetes to minimize the potential for miscommunication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalThe Diabetes Educator
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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