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Relationship between adult and family supporter health literacy levels and supporter roles in diabetes management.

Fields B, Lee A, Piette JD, Trivedi R, Mor MK, Obrosky DS, Heisler M, Rosland AM. Relationship between adult and family supporter health literacy levels and supporter roles in diabetes management. Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare. 2021 Jun 1; 39(2):224-233.

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INTRODUCTION: Among adults with Type 2 diabetes, low health literacy (HL) is a risk factor for negative health outcomes. Support from family and friends can improve adults' self-management and health-related outcomes. We examined whether supporters provided unique help to adults with diabetes and low HL and whether HL was associated with adults' perception of supporter helpfulness. METHODS: We used cross-sectional baseline survey data from 239 adult patients with diabetes enrolled in a randomized controlled trial with a support person. Patients reported level of supporter involvement with self-management roles. HL among patients and supporters was assessed using a validated HL screening tool. Patient perception of supporter helpfulness was assessed with a single item. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine associations of patient and supporter HL levels with supporter roles and patients' perception of supporter helpfulness. RESULTS: Patients with low HL were more likely to have a supporter with low HL (39% vs. 26%, p = .04). Patients with low HL had higher odds of receiving supporter help with calling health care providers (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.09, 95% CI [1.00, 4.39]), remembering medical appointments (AOR = 2.24, 95% CI [1.07, 4.69]), and giving directions when blood sugars were low (AOR = 2.51, 95% CI [1.20, 5.37]). Neither patient nor supporter HL was significantly associated with patients' perception of supporter helpfulness. DISCUSSION: Adults with diabetes and low HL reported more supporter involvement with specific self-management tasks than patients with adequate HL. Providers could consider targeted involvement of supporters to assist patients with chronic diseases and low HL, although they should be aware that supporters may be challenged by low HL. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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