Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

BMC Primary Care





PubMed ID



Springer / BMC


School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Nursing and Midwifery




Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation / Special Funds for Science and Technology of Guangdong Province / Medical Science and Technology Research Fund Project of Guangdong Province / Education Science Research Programme / Guangdong Province


Lin, K., Yao, M., Andrew, L., Li, R., Chen, Y., Oosthuizen, J., . . . Chen, Y. (2024). Exploring treatment burden in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A thematic analysis in china's primary care settings. BMC Primary Care, 25, article 88.


Background: Understanding treatment burden is a critical element to the effective management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). The current study aims to address the knowledge gap surrounding treatment burden of T2DM from the patient’s perspective in China’s primary care settings. Methods: A narrative review informed the creation of an a priori coding structure to identify aspects of T2DM treatment burden. Focus groups were conducted, employing a maximum variation sampling strategy to select participants from diverse sociodemographic backgrounds across urban, suburban, rural, and remote areas in China. Participants included adults with T2DM care in primary care settings for over a year and a Treatment Burden Questionnaire score of 25 or higher. Deductive thematic analysis, guided by the coding structure, facilitated a comprehensive exploration and further development of the conceptual framework of T2DM treatment burden. Results: Four focus groups, each comprising five participants from diverse areas, were conducted. Utilising the Cumulative Complexity Model and Normalisation Process Theory as theoretical underpinnings, the thematic analysis refined the conceptual framework based on the coding structure from the narrative review. Five key themes were refined, encompassing medical information, medication, administration, healthcare system, and lifestyle. Additionally, the financial and time/travel themes merged into a new theme termed "personal resources", illustrating their overlapping within the framework. Participants in these focus groups highlighted challenges in managing medical information, an aspect often underrepresented in prior treatment burden research. The thematic analysis culminated in a finalised conceptual framework, offering a comprehensive understanding of the treatment burden experiences of people with T2DM in China’s primary care settings. This framework includes six key constructs, delineating T2DM treatment burden and associated factors, such as antecedents and consequences. Conclusions: This study provides insights into the treatment burden of T2DM. A conceptual framework was finalised to deepen the understanding of the multifaceted constructs and the nature of treatment burden in people with T2DM. Furthermore, it emphasises the need to tailor T2DM treatment to individual capacities, considering their personal resource allocation and treatment utilisation.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.