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Helen Snell

Doctor of Philosophy, (Health & Social Services)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Igniting the diabetes self-care pilot light: Understanding influences on health activation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Diabetes is a complex long-term condition with self-care being a major component of care. However, it can be demanding, overwhelming and hard to sustain. Health activation is a composite notion comprising health beliefs, knowledge, skill and confidence - all influencing self-care. Mrs Snell measured health activation in NZ adults with insulin treated diabetes, and explored relationships with factors impacting on it and self care. She found health activation dynamic with diabetes-related distress and practitioner communication and decision-making styles affecting active self-care. Participants perceived distinct differences in styles between and within the disciplines of nursing and medicine. This study showed that in addition to diabetes specific expertise, diabetes care should be based on humanistic principles of caring, mutuality, respectfulness and reciprocity. Importantly, the diversity of the multiple disciplines within the diabetes health care team needs to be recognized and their unique skills practiced in concert.

Professor Jenny Carryer
Associate Professor Tim Kenealy
Dr Stephen Neville

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