Direct Social Support and Long-term Health Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Nicklett, Emily J.; Heisler, Mary E. Michele; Spencer, Michael S.; Rosland, Ann-Marie
November 2013
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Nov2013, Vol. 68 Issue 6, p933
Academic Journal
Objectives. This study examined whether or not direct social support is associated with long-term health among middle-aged and older adults with diabetes mellitus. Method. Direct social support was assessed at baseline (2003) for 1,099 adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus from the Health and Retirement Study. Self-reported health status was examined at baseline and in 4 biennial survey waves (2003–2010). A series of ordinal logistic regression models examined whether or not the 7-item Diabetes Care Profile scale was associated with a subsequent change in health status over time. Additional analyses examined whether or not individual components of direct social support were associated with health status change. Results. After adjusting for baseline covariates, greater direct social support as measured by the Diabetes Care Profile was associated with improved health outcomes over time; however, this trend was not significant (p = .06). The direct social support measures that were associated with improved health over follow-up were support for taking medicines (odds ratio [OR] = 1.22), physical activity (OR = 1.26), and going to health care providers (OR = 1.22; all p < .05). Discussion. Interventions that specifically target improving specific aspects of diabetes social support may be more effective in improving long-term health than less targeted efforts.


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