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Do names really hurt?

Do certain diabetes-related words cause distress for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Researchers from the University of Sydney have been granted $60,000 over a 12-month period to investigate if the terminology used by clinicians can affect the health of people with diabetes.

Lead researcher, Dr Linda Beeney from Sydney Medical School says research into the terminology used to treat addictions indicates the language used by clinicians can impact patients.

‘Research in the field of addiction medicine demonstrates negative and stigmatizing language influences treatment choices, reduces health professional empathy and leads to poorer patient outcomes,’ says Dr Beeney.

‘So far no studies have investigated the effect of negative language on diabetes health professional attitudes and behaviours. Similarly, there is no published experimental research on the effects of negative diabetes language on people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.’

‘How we talk to, and about, people with diabetes matters. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes feel stigmatized and judged across the world by the use of terms such as diabetic, non-compliant and failed.’

‘We want to help health professionals, the community and the media choose words wisely to support people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes based on solid research evidence.’

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