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Exploring risk, prevention and educational approaches for the non-diabetic offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes – a qualitative study




To understand the knowledge and perceptions of type 2 diabetes and to explore preferable educational strategies in the non-diabetic offspring of patients with the disease.


Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent disease with significant long-term consequences. Offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing the disease compared with the general population. Previous studies have shown that offspring have a poor perception of their own risk.


A qualitative study was carried out using semi-structured one-to-one interviews. Analysis was completed using a structured framework approach.


Research was carried out during January–March 2011 in the north east of UK. Six offspring of patients diagnosed with the disease were interviewed.


Participants balanced positive and negative aspects of their lifestyle behaviours to estimate their own risk. They had adequate knowledge of healthy lifestyle behaviours, but were uncertain about the long-term effects and seriousness of the disease and the role of inheritance. Behavioural changes at an individual level would only be motivated by an event, which would impact on their own health. Participants believed that ‘fear’-based strategies to health promotion would be most effective to encourage behaviour change.


Knowledge of individual risk and why diabetes was serious was limited and variable. The health behaviours of this at-risk group were complex. Nurses engaged in the care of at-risk individuals must take this complexity into account when developing and implementing multi-faceted strategies to improve awareness.

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