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Patient-provider communication and self-care behavior among type 2 diabetes patients.

Aikens JE, Bingham R, Piette JD. Patient-provider communication and self-care behavior among type 2 diabetes patients. The Diabetes educator. 2005 Sep 1; 31(5):681-90.

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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether diabetes self-care behaviors mediate the association between patient-provider communication (PPC) and diabetes outcomes. METHODS: An ethnically diverse sample of 752 patients with type 2 diabetes was recruited from 3 different health systems. Subjects were interviewed by telephone about their general and diabetes-specific PPC, diabetes self-care behaviors (medication use, glucose testing, eating, and physical activity), and functional status (physical and mental). Glycemic control was assessed with the HbA1c assay. Statistical tests of the hypothetical path model were adjusted for age, gender, marital status, income, ethnicity, medication regimen, and number of comorbid conditions. RESULTS: General PPC was associated with mental functioning and physical functioning, and diabetes-specific PPC was associated with glycemic control. However, these associations were not mediated by self-care behaviors, which were independently associated with diabetes outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Although self-care and PPC are both important determinants of diabetes patients' health status, these effects are independent. Thus, attempts to improve diabetes outcomes must focus on both good communication and the direct enhancement of illness self-management behaviors.

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