Barriers and enablers to the delivery of psychological care in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in China: A qualitative study using the theoretical domains framework

Anna Chapman, Hui Yang, Shane A Thomas, Kendall Searle, Colette Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: China has the largest number of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) cases globally and individuals with T2DM have an increased risk of developing mental health disorders and functional problems. Despite guidelines recommending that psychological care be delivered in conjunction with standard T2DM care; psychological care is not routinely delivered in China. Community Health Centre (CHC) doctors play a key role in the management of patients with T2DM in China. Understanding the behavioural determinants of CHC doctors in the implementation of psychological care recommendations allows for the design of targeted and culturally appropriate interventions. As such, this study aimed to examine barriers and enablers to the delivery of psychological care to patients with T2DM from the perspective of CHC doctors in China. Methods: Two focus groups were conducted with 23 CHC doctors from Shenzhen, China. The discussion guide applied the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) that examines current practice and identifies key barriers and enablers perceived to influence practice. Focus groups were conducted with an interpreter, and were digitally recorded and transcribed. Two researchers independently coded transcripts into pre-defined themes using deductive thematic analysis. Results: Barriers and enablers perceived by doctors as being relevant to the delivery of psychological care for patients with T2DM were primarily categorised within eight TDF domains. Key barriers included: CHC doctors' knowledge and skills; time constraints; and absence of financial incentives. Other barriers included: societal perception that treating psychological aspects of health is less important than physical health; lack of opinion leaders; doctors' intentional disregard of psychological care; and doubts regarding the efficacy of psychological care. In contrast, perceived enablers included: Training of CHC doctors in psychological skills; identification of afternoon/evening clinic times when recommendations could be implemented; introduction of financial incentives; and the creation of a professional role (e.g. diabetes educator), that could implement psychological care recommendations to patients with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016


  • type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • psychological care
  • China
  • theoretical domains framework
  • guideline implementation
  • evidence-based practice

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