Cognitive Mapping in Persons Newly Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes

Lynne C. Hughes, Susan E. Keith, Allyn Byars, Kristin L. Wiginton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the issues and perceptions of persons newly diagnosed (within last 3 months) with type 2 diabetes. In this qualitative study, 16 adults newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were recruited, who completed a demographic, lifestyle, and diabetes management questionnaire and then were interviewed using cognitive mapping. Participants were asked to write words or phrases that came to mind when thinking about living with diabetes. From these words, common concepts were identified, grouped into clusters, and reduced into categories. Associations were sought between demographics and categories. A total of 260 Post-It notes were written, from which 123 concepts were identified and grouped into 24 clusters. The most frequent concept was eat, and the 3 most frequent clusters were food, negative emotions, and diabetes and its complications. The 9 categories, in order of frequency, were as follows: (1) need to (self-management), (2) concerns, (3) “I'm sick”, (4) emotional distress, (5) loss, (6) the no's (limitations), (7) fears and complications, (8) have to (medical management), and (9) coping. Persons with a college education and a later interview date since diagnosis were associated with the concepts in the need to and have to categories. Concepts in the I'm sick category were associated with lower income and Hispanic ethnicity. Diabetes educators should consider this holistic representation of the issues and perceptions reflected in the common concepts, clusters, and categories expressed by persons newly diagnosed with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-854
Number of pages10
JournalThe Diabetes Educator
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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