Presentation of Diabetes Management Research

The aim of the research in Diabetes Management Research (DMR) is to contribute to the best possible quality of life for people with diabetes and people in their social network. DMR develops and evaluates research-based interventions regarding health promoting psycho-social support and education related to everyday life with diabetes.

The research field

Diabetes education and support is a cornerstone in diabetes care and is recommended in all international guidelines. Involvement of people with diabetes is also crucial to providing optimal diabetes care and support.

Psychosocial and Health Education Research as well as the study of children and families with diabetes cover the study of the huge challenges in life with diabetes and possible methods and activities to overcome these challenges. For many people with diabetes and their families it occurs that their life is characterized by diabetes distress, worries about work life, worries about complications, experiences of limitations in life and stigma, diabetes loneliness and reduced quality of life. Methods for diabetes education and psychosocial support are effective and helpful if they are accessible, person-centered and target the specific needs of specific population groups and individuals.

Diabetes loneliness, diabetes specific capital, diabetes and multimorbidity, diabetes in and as cross-sectorial care, diabetes illness identity and diabetes distress constitute some of our current study areas.

Strategic focus

We always apply participation of target groups, development of competences, a positive and broad concept of health, inclusion of the social context. We also focus on equity in health in our studies.

Our research has the aim of promoting well-being, the feeling of freedom, safety and experiencing as few diabetes related limitations as possible among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as people in their social network. Our research strategy is based on attitudes, wishes and needs of the target groups. The health care system is also an object for research.

Our goal is to develop research based, applicable and sustainable interventions that are needed and can be easily implemented in clinical practice and real-life settings. Studies include cross sectorial health care provision, and frequently include hardly reached people such as people with mental illness and people who do not profit from standard treatment programs in the health care system. All research is initiated with a needs assessments through literature, observations, workshops, surveys etc. and the research process is often guided by Design Thinking or Action Research.  

This includes research into e.g. the use and application of diabetes technology in everyday life, diabetes and work life, illness identity and social relations, access to diabetes education; support for diabetes distress ad methods for peer support. In all our research the aim is to involve people with diabetes and - if relevant - their social settings as well as health care and other professionals involved in their life with diabetes

In our research we apply the qualitative and quantitative methods that are best suited for the specific study, frequently in a design-based research framework based on involvement of the target group(s).

The research group represents a variety of scientific disciplines, including public health science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, health education studies, and pharmacology. This diversity adds value to this field of research in need of innovation, creativity and the application of many research methods and the development of new, appropriate methods.

Education concepts

The Health Education Juggler, NEED, and EMMA, CUSTOM and The Family Tool Box  about participatory diabetes education and the professional competences needed to use these concepts.


Diabetes Management Research consists of senior researchers, researchers, postdocs, PhD students, master students etc. from relevant academic professions. The research group is organized in three teams:

Head of Diabetes Management Research – Ingrid Willaing

  • Psychosocial health and support - Team Leader, senior researcher Lene Eide Joensen

  • Health education interventions - Team Leader, senior researcher Nana Folmann Hempler

  • Children, young people and families with diabetes - Team Leader, senior researcher Dan Grabowski


In addition to close links with other units at Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, other Danish Steno Centers and the Capital Region, we have established several fruitful collaborations and links with international as well as national partners.

King’s College London: Angus Forbes, Misspelled WordKhalida Ismael, Jackie Sturt

  • ACBDR (Australian Centre for Misspelled WordBehavioural Diabetes Research) – Jane Speight, Melbourne, Australia
  • Leicester Diabetes Centre, University of Leicester, UK – Misspelled Worddiabetes education
  • University of San Francisco (Professor Lawrence Fisher, Danielle Misspelled WordHessler) – diabetes stress
  • The University of San Diego and Misspelled WordBehavioural Diabetes Institute (Professor Bill Misspelled WordPolonsky) - diabetes stress
  • Municipalities, regions and universities in Denmark (KU, SDU/SIF, DPU)

Current research projects

Psychosocial health and support

Diabetes distress:

  •  Development of interventions


  • Dialogue tools for consultations, people with Type 1 diabetes
  • Screening (barriers for retinopathy screening)
  • Coexisting diabetes and mental illness

Peer support:

  • Board game for people with type 2 diabetes
  • Establishing diabetes-specific social capital


  • Optimizing DIY pump treatment
  • Social Media and diabetes

Diabetes and working life:

  • Development of research based Work life support for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

Newly diagnosed type 1:

  • Psychosocial support for adults with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes 

Health education interventions

Cross-sectoral collaboration:

  •  Health promotion among people with mental problems
  •  Minimising the burden of diabetes and multimorbidity

Ethnic groups:

  • The role of social relationships and access to diabetes  care for ethnic groups with type 2 diabetes
  • CUSTOM Trial: culturally sensitive diabetes education targeting ethnic minority groups
  • Development of a technological aid to support communication about medication

Motivation, strategy and implementation of changed behavior:

  • Feasibility of a time-restricted eating intervention to prevent the development of diabetes
  • Prevention of diabetes in people with mental health problems

Children, young people and families with diabetes

  • The Family Toolbox: Families Living with Type 2 diabetes
  • Family Intervention Research (FAIR): Families with young children and obesity problems
  • Solglimt: Young people living in a residential diabetes-care facility
  • Diamond: Coaching for adolescents with diabetes
  • Young people with Type 1 diabetes: Illness identity and social relations
  • Young children with diabetes: Developing a play-based approach to create genuine involvement
  • Pre-teens with Type 1 diabetes: Autonomy and family involvement
  • New approaches to communicating with pre-teens with T1D: A positive deviance study 

Responsible editor