Barriers and opportunities Work life of people with type 2 Diabetes

​​The ability to work is related to different health related outcomes and is an important aspect of quality of life. 

People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) can experience work disability and have an increased risk of retiring early by disability pension. However, the reasons why people with T2D retire earlier than people without T2D remain poorly researched which makes it difficult to develop evidence based initiatives to help overcome diabetes specific barriers at work. 

This project explores how people experience limitations and potentials in relation to management of diabetes at work and which needs people with T2D have in order to overcome limitations. 

This project also aims to develop and implement feasible interventions to help individuals with T2D overcome the above identified limitations in their working life and to identify relevant settings for implementation of interventions. 

Four phases of ’design thinking’ (Brown and Wyat, 2010) are used as a theoretical frame: 
  1. Needs-assessment: Identification and empathizing with the problem by interviewing 20 participants and conduct 2 -3 workshops with 8-12 participants. Participants with T2D with at least one complication between age 25 and 70 will be included.
  2. Analyses: Thematic analyses focusing on barriers and possibilities at work along with unmet needs in relation to work life. 
  3. Development of Idea: Generation of ideas along with development of a prototype. This will be done by active participation of people with T2D and other key stakeholders that people with T2D find relevant to involve. Identification of elements to be included in the intervention will be shaped from the Principles of Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen: A broad concept of health, participation, empowerment, settings perspectives, reducing social inequality.  
  4. Implementation: The intervention will be developed and tested in practice. The prototype will be developed and feasibility tested with the relevant target groups and a process and effect evaluation will be undertaken. The relevant settings that need to be included to ensure successful implementation will also be identified in this phase (e.g. settings in relation to people with T2D, workplace, health care)
Brown, T. & Wyatt, J. (2010) Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Winter

Target group

Participants with T2D in different stages

Expected ending and outcome

A research based intervention is expected to be developed by December 2017. In 2018 we will work intensively with implementation of the intervention


Elsinore Municipality
Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, the patient clinic
Other collaborators may be engaged once in the intervention development phase, depending on the contents


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Cleal R, Poulsen K, Hannarz H, Andersen LL. A prospective study of occupational status and disability retirement among employees with diabetes in Denmark. European Journal of Public Health, 2015. Vol. 25, No. 4, 617–619

Cleal R, Poulsen K, Hannarz H, Andersen LL. Socioeconomic status and incident diabetes mellitus among employees in Denmark: A prospective analysis with 10-year follow-up. Diabetic Medicine 2014; 31 (12): 1559-1562

Poulsen K, Cleal R, Clausen T, Andersen LL. Work, diabetes and obesity: a seven year follow-up study among Danish health care workers.PLoS One. 2014 Jul 28;9(7):e103425. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103425. 

Poulsen K, Cleal B, Willaing I. Diabetes and work: 12-year national follow-up study of the association of diabetes incidence with socioeconomic group, age, gender and country of origin Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 2014; 42: 728–733

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