The purpose of this study was to examine social support and its relationship to diabetes-specific quality of life and self-care behaviors in African Americans with type 2 diabetes.
The study followed a cross-sectional, observational design and recruited 89 African American adults, age 40 and older (mean = 60, SD = 10.5), diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants completed measures assessing diabetes-specific quality of life, self-care behaviors (healthy eating, physical activity, self-monitoring of blood glucose, foot care, medication and/or insulin use), demographic background, and diabetes-related social support. Diabetes-related social support variables included amount of social support received, satisfaction with support, positive support behavior, negative support behavior, and primary source of support.
Stepwise regressions, controlling for demographic variables, were conducted to identify predictors of diabetes-specific quality of life and self-care behaviors from the diabetes-related social support variables. Satisfaction with support was a predictor for improved diabetes-specific quality of life (r = -.579, P < .001) and blood glucose monitoring (r = .258, P < .05). Positive support behavior was a predictor for following a healthy eating plan (r = .280, P < .05), spacing out carbohydrates evenly throughout the day (r = .367, P < .01), and performing physical activity at least 30 minutes per day (r = .296, P < .05). Negative support behavior was a predictor for not taking medication as recommended (r = -.348, P < .01).
Findings indicate that social support plays a role in diabetes-specific quality of life and self-management practices. Social support encompasses multiple dimensions that differentially influence specific diabetes health-related outcomes and behaviors.