A healthy life with type 2 diabetes: personas of patients with a low socioeconomic status

Authors Amber Ronteltap, Andrea J Bukman, Karen Hosper, Renate Hilhorst, Marieke Rietbergen
Published in Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design4Health, Amsterdam, 2020, Volume 3
Publication date 2020
Research groups Innovation of Movement Care
Type Lecture


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is relatively high among people with a low socioeconomic status (SES). As lifestyle is crucial in T2D management, patients are advised to live healthily, but incorporating lifestyle changes in daily life is not easy. It may be even more difficult for people with a low SES, as they often struggle with more urgent issues in daily life that supersede healthy lifestyle. How to promote a healthy lifestyle such that the needs of low SES patients are met? A boundary condition is a thorough understanding of the target group, and of the differences between individuals in this group. Too often, people with a low SES receive either general advice, or advice targeted to literacy level or ethnic background, whereas the diversity within the low SES population is much wider than that. We developed personas to identify archetypes of the target group, each reflecting a distinct pattern in goals, attitudes and behaviours, to help grasp the diversity of the target group. Ten interviews with low SES T2D-patients revealed their perceptions and experiences related to what is important in life, a healthy lifestyle, living with diabetes, and lifestyle advice. Following Goodwin’s persona development methodology (2011), three groups were qualitatively extracted from the data. In short, the personas are: 1) the worrisome caregiver: wants to live healthier, but is incapable of incorporating advices into one’s life; caring for others is first priority; 2) the conscious self-confident: willing and able to follow up advice in order to reduce medication use; 3) the selfwilled survivor: dealing with multiple (health) issues, and dedicated to solve things one’s own way. Each persona likely responds differently to health promoting strategies. Additional research is needed to enrich the set of personas, for example by verifying them with the target group’s family or health professionals.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design4Health, Amsterdam, 2020, Volume 3
Key words personas, lifestyle, type 2 diabetes, low socioeconomic status
Page range 153-159