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Background The number of people living with diabetes is rising worldwide and a higher prevalence of diabetes has been linked to those experiencing socioeconomic deprivation. Self-management strategies are vital and known to reduce the risks of long-term complications amongst people living with diabetes. Lack of knowledge about self-care activity required to manage diabetes is a key barrier to successful self-management. Self-management interventions can be less effective in socioeconomically deprived populations which can increase the risk of exacerbating health inequalities. The purpose of this review is to identify and synthesise qualitative evidence on the barriers and facilitators of self-management of diabetes amongst people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, PsycINFO and CINAHL Plus were searched for qualitative studies concerning self-management of multiple long-term conditions amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Relevant papers which focused on diabetes were identified. Data were coded and thematically synthesised using NVivo. Findings From the search results, 79 qualitative studies were identified after full-text screening and 26 studies were included in the final thematic analysis. Two overarching analytical themes were identified alongside a set of subthemes: (1) Socioeconomic barriers to diabetes self-management; healthcare costs, financial costs of healthy eating, cultural influences, living in areas of deprivation, competing priorities and time constraints, health literacy, (2) facilitators of diabetes self-management; lifestyle and having goals, support from healthcare providers, informal support. Discussion Self-management of diabetes is challenging for people experiencing socioeconomic deprivation due to barriers associated with living in areas of deprivation and financial barriers surrounding healthcare, medication and healthy food. Support from healthcare providers can facilitate self-management, and it is important that people with diabetes have access to interventions that are designed to be inclusive from a cultural perspective as well as affordable. Patient or Public Contribution A patient advisory group contributed to the research questions and interpretation of the qualitative findings by reflecting on the themes developed.

More information Original publication



Journal article


Wiley Online Library


Volume27, Issue3 June 2024 e14070


John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Publication Date





This study is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (project reference 539).