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Gray KE, Hoerster KD, Reiber GE, Bastian LA, Nelson KM. Multiple domains of social support are associated with diabetes self-management among Veterans. Chronic Illness. 2019 Dec 1; 15(4):264-275.
Objectives To examine, among Veterans, relationships of general social support and diabetes-specific social support for physical activity and healthy eating with diabetes self-management behaviors. Methods Patients from VA Puget Sound, Seattle completed a cross-sectional survey in 2012-2013 ( N = 717). We measured (a) general social support and (b) diabetes-specific social support for healthy eating and physical activity with domains reflecting support person participation, encouragement, and sharing ideas. Among 189 self-reporting diabetes patients, we fit linear and modified Poisson regression models estimating associations of social support with diabetes self-management behaviors: adherence to general and diabetes-specific diets and blood glucose monitoring (days/week); physical activity ( < vs. 150 min/week); and smoking status (smoker/non-smoker). Results General social support was not associated with diabetes self-management. For diabetes-specific social support, higher healthy eating support scores across all domains were associated with better adherence to general and diabetes-specific diets. Higher physical activity support scores were positively associated with 150 min/week of physical activity only for the participation domain. Discussion Diabetes-specific social support was a stronger and more consistent correlate of improved self-management than general social support, particularly for lifestyle behaviors. Incorporating family/friends into Veterans' diabetes self-management routines may lead to better self-management and improvements in disease control and outcomes.