ABSTRACT: Effective diabetes care requires integrating physicians' clinical expertise with patients' concerns and resources. This prospective study examined whether or not two measures of therapeutic alliance could predict glycaemic control after 1 year of follow-up in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Consecutive type 1 diabetic outpatients were recruited, and their age, gender, level of education, marital status and age at the time of diabetes diagnosis were self-reported. The presence of diabetes complications was ascertained by the patients' physicians. Both patients and physicians completed the revised Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAQ-R) and the 12-item Working Alliance Inventory (WAI-12) to assess therapeutic alliance. Patients also completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale to assess depressive mood. HbA(1c) was measured at baseline and 1 year later.
Sixty-four type 1 diabetic outpatients (32 men, 32 women; mean age±standard deviation [S.D.]: 38.2±8.0 years) were included. HbA(1c) level at follow-up (mean±S.D.: 7.56±1.18%) was positively correlated with the HbA(1c) level at baseline (r=0.698, P<0.001), and associated with presence of retinopathy at baseline (8.18±1.24% versus 7.41±1.13%, P=0.036). In addition, the HbA(1c) level at follow-up was negatively correlated with therapeutic alliance, as assessed at baseline by the physicians using either the HAQ-R (r=-0.431, P<0.001) or the WAI-12 (r=-0.365, P=0.003), even after controlling for the HbA(1c) at baseline.
Although the observational nature of the present study prevents causal conclusions to be drawn, these preliminary results suggest that promoting therapeutic alliance can improve glycaemic control in type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes & Metabolism 10/2010; 36(6 Pt 1):499-502. · 2.41 Impact Factor