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Abstract or Description

This study is designed to examine how the spousal relationship is related to the health behavior of people with type 2 diabetes. Participants consisted of 21 persons with type 2 diabetes and their spouses. Both patients and spouses completed a brief questionnaire that consisted of questions related to health behavior, partner communication, and marital quality. We hypothesized that when spouses engage in more positive diabetes behaviors, patients will engage in better self-care behavior, have higher self-efficacy, and have higher well-being. We also hypothesized that patient and spouse active engagement will be associated with better patient outcomes, whereas patient and spouse protective buffering will be associated with worse patient outcomes. We hypothesized that relationship quality and communal coping would be associated with better patient outcomes. Results showed that spouse positive behaviors were related to better patient self-care behaviors, and spouse negative behaviors were related to lower levels of patient self-efficacy. Neither positive nor negative behaviors were associated with patient well-being. Active engagement was related to better patient self-care behaviors but not patient well-being. There was some suggestion that protective buffering was related to a couple of poor patient outcomes. Marital satisfaction was related to some indicators of patient well-being, but communal coping was associated to better self-care behaviors. These results suggest that spouses may have an impact on how patients take care of their diabetes.


Advisor: Vicki Helgeson
Degree: B.S. Biological Sciences and Psychology