Patients and partners illness perceptions in screen-detected versus clinically diagnosed type 2 diabetes: partners matter!

Erwin P. Klein Woolthuis*, Wim J. C. de Grauw, Mieke Cardol, Chris van Weel, Job F. M. Metsemakers, Marion C. J. Biermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In type 2 diabetes, educational interventions that target differences between patients and partners illness perceptions have been advocated. To investigate how the route to diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (through screening versus clinical symptoms) affects illness perceptions of patients and their partners. In a cross-sectional study, we enrolled patients aged 4075 years from general practices in the Netherlands with a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (3 years), detected by either screening (n 77) or clinical symptoms (n 32). Patients and their partners each completed a postal Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (Brief IPQ), and up-to-date clinical data were obtained from their GP. The Brief IPQ scores of the screening and clinical diagnosis groups were compared for both patients and partners, and multiple variable linear regression models with Brief IPQ scores as outcomes were developed. The route to diagnosis did not appear to have a strong influence on patients illness perceptions but did influence illness perceptions of their partners. Partners of patients diagnosed through screening perceived greater consequences for their own life, had a stronger feeling that their patient-partners had control over their diabetes, were more concerned about their partners diabetes, and believed that their patient-partners experienced more diabetes symptoms, compared with partners of patients who were diagnosed through clinical symptoms. The route to diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has a greater impact on the illness perceptions of partners than that of patients. Professionals in diabetes education and treatment should consider these differences in their approach to patient care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-425
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Diabetes
  • diagnostic tests
  • family health
  • primary care
  • screening

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