Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
Partner Relationships and Outcomes
Published in: Journal of Health Psychology, 2015
Posted on RAND.org on October 29, 2015
- What associations are there between relationship status of adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and disease-related outcomes?
- Does the support style of relationship partners affect T1D patients' diabetes outcomes, such as blood sugar control, body mass index, and self care?
Health outcomes of adults with type 1 diabetes may be affected by relationship status and quality. Our objective was to examine associations between relationship status, relationship factors, and outcomes in adults with type 1 diabetes. N = 1660 participants completed surveys measuring relationship satisfaction and perceived partner support style (active engagement, protective buffering, over-protection). Differences in glycemic control and adherence for those married/partnered versus not were insignificant. Higher relationship satisfaction, and having an engaged, not over-protective, partner was associated with better glycemic control and self-care. Helping partners support patients, avoiding over-protection, may enhance relationship and diabetes-related patient outcomes for adults with type 1 diabetes.
- Being in a relationship, whether married or partnered, was not associated with glycemic control or body mass index.
- Patients with partners who were actively engaged in helping manage T1D and who were rated less protective expressed greater relationship satisfaction.
- Patients expressing higher relationship satisfaction demonstrated better blood sugar control and self-care behavior.
- Interventions that focus on helping partners become actively engaged in their partners' T1D management—without becoming overly protective—could be helpful.
- Further research on the influence of relationships on patient outcomes is needed.