Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Kathleen M. Rayman

Committee Members

Gary Kukulka, Joellen B. Edwards, Patricia Hayes


Eleven participants living with non-insulin-requiring Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) discussed their self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) experience. All had been recently diagnosed (< 2 years) and treated for diabetes with a self-regulating SMBG guideline for primary care practice. Their digitally-recorded interviews and photographed logbooks were analyzed thematically and interpreted through the lens of numeracy literature to answer 2 questions: 1. What is the meaning of SMBG among people with non-insulinrequiring T2DM? 2. How do people with non-insulin-requiring T2DM perceive the function of SMBG in diabetes self-management? The meanings of SMBG were patient competence, "It is easy, just a little pin prick"; patient control, "I can control it. It doesn't control me"; and patient security, "It is not that way anymore." Three periods of lived time were observed: Diagnosis "The numbers say I have diabetes"; "I just can't figure out why it does that"; and Routine "I make my numbers." Prominent numeracy functions emerged by time period. During Diagnosis primary numeracy functions included comparing SMBG results to target values. Participants expressed this experience as, "I am some kind of O.K." During applied numeracy functions included taking medication correctly. SMBG readings were experienced as a clue to the diabetes mystery, sometimes confusing the participants, "I just don't know why it does what it does," or answering questions, "Now there is no question marks." Numbers motivated some people for action "The numbers get me out a walking" or restraint "If I didn't have the numbers, I would be tempted to cheat." During Routine interpretive numeracy functioned to aid the evaluation of the efficacy of participant's health behavior change. Numbers had taken on meaning helping a person to "know where I am at." Clinical implications are suggested including adjustments to the selfregulating SMBG guideline for primary care practice. Findings are discussed in relation to personal knowledge processes (Sweeny, 1994) and related SMBG research. Participants concluded that routine SMBG is essential to maintaining and restraining health behavior. This study provides a model for use of SMBG in diabetes selfmanagement and patient perspectives on SMBG during the 2 years following T2DM diagnosis.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.