Talking Circles to Improve Diabetes Self-care Management

Marlene Wilken, Martha Nunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of both the Talking Circles (TCs) and diabetes self-management education (DSME) results in better adherence and outcomes for diabetes self-management than DSME alone in American Indians (AIs) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Methods: A quasiexperimental, mixed-methods approach was used for AIs with uncontrolled T2DM, defined by an A1C > 7.0%. The experimental group (n = 20) participated in a TC and received DSME. The control group (n = 19) received only DSME. Talking Circles were audio-taped and analyzed qualitatively. Quantitative data were analyzed using the generalized estimating equation and Fisher exact test for all study participants every 3 months for 1 year. Results: Themes identified by TC participants were spirituality, gratitude, and sharing. Major topics of discussion were the experiences of living with T2DM, including challenges and coping. Evidence of positive trends for the experimental group who received the TC intervention included lower systolic blood pressure, lower A1C, lower weight over time, and increased adherence without incentives. Conclusion: Talking Circles may have utility in improving adherence in AI adults with uncontrolled T2DM. Further studies are warranted, including extending the use of the TCs after completion of DSME sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-395
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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