For a number of diabetes patients regular care may be insufficient. A Multidisciplinary Intensive Education Program (MIEP), based on the empowerment approach, has been developed to help patients obtain their treatment goals (adequate self-management, glycemic control and quality of life). The aim of this pilot study is to determine the effects of MIEP and it's mechanisms of influence. MIEP consisted of 12 days group-sessions and individual counseling. At baseline and 3-months follow-up, blood-glucose (HbA(1c)), quality of life, health locus of control, distress, and knowledge were obtained (N = 51). Paired T-tests and regression analyses were conducted. HbA(1c) and knowledge improved significantly, patients rated themselves healthier and were more internal and less powerful others oriented. Baseline scores explained effects in HbA(1c) and quality of life. Locus of control significantly contributed in effects on quality of life. MIEP benefited patients with prolonged self-management difficulties, and this form of care seems to complement regular care. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.