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Diabetes-Related Support, Regimen Adherence, and Health Decline Among Older Adults

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Nicklett, E.J., and Jersey Liang. 2010. "Diabetes-Related Support, Regimen Adherence, and Health Decline Among Older Adults." Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, 65(3): 390-399.

Social support is generally conceptualized as health promoting; however, there is little consensus regarding the mechanisms through which support is protective. Illness support has been proposed to promote regimen adherence and subsequent prevention of health decline. We hypothesize that (a) support for regimen adherence is negatively associated with self-reported health decline among older diabetic adults and that (b) regimen adherence is negatively associated with health decline among older diabetic adults. We used the Health and Retirement Study data on individuals over the age of 60 years with type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 1,788), examining change in self-reported health status over a 2-year period using binomial and cumulative ordinal logistic regression models. Diabetic support is not significantly associated with health decline, but it is strongly associated with adherence to health-promoting activities consisting of a diabetic regimen. Therefore, the extent to which one receives illness support for a given regimen component is highly positively associated with adhering to that component, although this adherence does not necessarily translate into protection against perceived decline in health. Illness-related support appears to be a mechanism through which social support matters in the diabetic population. Although this relationship did not extend to prevention of health status decline among diabetics, the relationship between support and illness management is promising.

DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbp050 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2853599. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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