The effect of social support on outcomes of disease management for type II diabetic patients in a rural community




Nu, Jessica
Chiapa-Scifres, Ana
Bowling, John


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Purpose: The Texas Diabetes Prevention and Control program reported a 23% prevalence of Texas residents above the age of 65 who have diabetes. Factors such as health literacy, education, socioeconomic resources, and social support play an important role in compliance to diabetes treatment and medical outcomes. The objective of this study is to explore the relationship between support and outcomes of disease management, such as hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), in diabetic patients over the age of 65 in rural Fredericksburg, Texas. Materials and Methods: Diabetic patients from the Fredericksburg Clinic who were 65 years or older were administered a 16 question survey. The survey consisted of questions about demographics, previous therapy received for diabetes, and the modified Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. Patient charts were reviewed to obtain the most current HbA1C and fasting blood glucose levels. The survey was completed by 52 patients from July 7, 2014 to September 26, 2014. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between social support and HbA1C. Results: A total of 29 males and 23 females were surveyed. The average patient had an education of 1-3 years of college or technical school. The majority of surveyed patients were Caucasian (48 of 52). The average income was $36,000-$45,000.The average age was 74 years. The average age of diagnosis was 60 years old. Patients had an average of 3 diabetes-focused doctor visits per year. The average social support score was 4.1 and the standard deviation was 1.04. The average HbA1C and fasting blood glucose were 6.7 and 130.9, respectively. The standard deviation of HbA1C and fasting blood glucose were 0.94 and 46.61, respectively. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient between average social support score and HbA1C was 0.11. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient between average social support score and fasting blood glucose was 0.04. Therefore, no correlation exists between HbA1C and fasting blood glucose with average social support score. Conclusion: Due to a relatively small sample size, no correlation between social support and diabetes management was found. However, further research is still needed to explore the impact of social factors on diabetes management in larger group studies.