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Patient and partner illness appraisals and health among adults with type 1 diabetes

Abstract

In a study of 199 couples in which one person had type 1 diabetes, we examined how patient appraisal of the diabetes as shared versus individual was associated with collaborative, supportive and unsupportive behavior and whether patient shared illness appraisal was most beneficial for health when it occurred in the context of supportive behavior. We assessed illness appraisal among patients with type 1 diabetes and their partners and had patients complete relationship and health measures. Results showed partners were more likely than patients to hold shared illness appraisals. Patients’ shared appraisals were associated with more collaborative and instrumental support, more emotional support, less protective buffering, and more overprotective behavior. When patients and partners were consistent in their shared appraisals, support was highest. Regression analysis showed collaborative and instrumental support, as well as emotional support, was related to better psychological and physical health when patients held shared compared to individual illness appraisals.

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Notes

  1. We repeated these analyses and controlled for relationship quality. The interactions presented in the results section remained significant.

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Funding

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health DP3 DK103999.

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Correspondence to Vicki S. Helgeson or Cynthia A. Berg.

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Vicki S. Helgeson, Cynthia A. Berg, Caitlin S. Kelly, Meredith Van Vleet, Melissa Zajdel, Enjin Lee Tracy and Michelle L. Litchman declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Helgeson, V.S., Berg, C.A., Kelly, C.S. et al. Patient and partner illness appraisals and health among adults with type 1 diabetes. J Behav Med 42, 480–492 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-018-0001-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-018-0001-1

Keywords

  • Communal coping
  • Dyadic coping
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Social support
  • Couples