Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIM: In Type 2 diabetes, there is no clear understanding of how people perceive their risk of experiencing diabetes-related complications. To address this issue, we undertook an evidence-based synthesis of how people with Type 2 diabetes perceive their risk of complications. METHODS: We performed a systematic search of nine electronic databases for peer-reviewed articles published on or before 1 March 2016. Data from 18 studies reporting lay perceptions of risks for complications in Type 2 diabetes populations were included. Publication year ranged between 2002 and 2014. RESULTS: Methods used to assess risk perceptions were heterogeneous, ranging from questionnaires measuring the accuracy of perceived risks to semi-structured and focus group interviews. We found evidence of low risk awareness in most dimensions of risk perceptions measured and the existence of optimistic bias. CONCLUSIONS: Perceptions were generally biased and varied according to the dimension of risk measured, the subpopulation concerned and the type of complications considered. Future work is needed to identify the best practical ways of correcting for biased risk perceptions so as to encourage self-care behaviours and treatment adherence.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabet Med

Publication Date





467 - 477


Attitude to Health, Diabetes Complications, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Humans, Perception, Risk