Behavioral models for mobile phone-based diabetes interventions are lacking. This study explores the potential mechanisms by which a text message-based diabetes program affected self-management among African-Americans.
We conducted in-depth, individual interviews among 18 African-American patients with type 2 diabetes who completed a 4-week text message-based diabetes program. Each interview was audio- taped, transcribed verbatim, and imported into Atlas.ti software. Coding was done iteratively. Emergent themes were mapped onto existing behavioral constructs and then used to develop a novel behavioral model for mobile phone-based diabetes self-management programs.
The effects of the text message-based program went beyond automated reminders. The constant, daily communications reduced denial of diabetes and reinforced the importance of self-management (Rosenstock Health Belief Model). Responding positively to questions about self-management increased mastery experience (Bandura Self-Efficacy). Most surprisingly, participants perceived the automated program as a “friend” and “support group” that monitored and supported their self-management behaviors (Barrera Social Support).
A mobile phone-based diabetes program affected self-management through multiple behavioral constructs including health beliefs, self-efficacy, and social support. Practice implications: Disease management programs that utilize mobile technologies should be designed to leverage existing models of behavior change and can address barriers to self-management associated with health disparities.
Keywords: Patient education, Patient–provider communication, Text messaging, Diabetes, African American