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07-28-2017 | Diabetes self-management | Review | Article

A Scoping Review of Behavioral Economic Interventions for Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Jeffrey T. Kullgren, Dina Hafez, Allison Fedewa, Michele Heisler

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this paper was to review studies of behavioral economic interventions (financial incentives, choice architecture modifications, or commitment devices) to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among at-risk patients or improve self-management among patients with T2DM.

Recent Findings

We found 15 studies that used varied study designs and outcomes to test behavioral economic interventions in clinical, workplace, or health plan settings. Of four studies that focused on prevention of T2DM, two found that financial incentives increased weight loss and completion of a fasting blood glucose test, and two choice architecture modifications had mixed effects in encouraging completion of tests to screen for T2DM. Of 11 studies that focused on improving self-management of T2DM, four of six tests of financial incentives demonstrated increased engagement in recommended care processes or improved biometric measures, and three of five tests of choice architecture modifications found improvements in self-management behaviors.


Though few studies have tested behavioral economic interventions for prevention or treatment of T2DM, those that have suggested such approaches have the potential to improve patient behaviors and such approaches should be tested more broadly.

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