The Role of Family and Peer Support in Diabetes

  • Joni S. Williams
  • Rebekah J. Walker
  • Leonard E. EgedeEmail author


Social support has garnered significant attention as a contextual factor influencing and shaping individual behaviors, particularly in patients with diabetes. Within the social ecological model of health behavior, social support serves as primarily an interpersonal sphere of influence; however, it also serves as a mechanism for connecting individuals with the surrounding institutional/organizational, community, and policy environments. Family and peer support is one specific type of social support, but can provide all four categories of social support established in the literature: emotional support, tangible support, informational support, and companionship support. This chapter discusses evidence for the relationship between family and peer support in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes on health outcomes. Consistent with the general social support literature, family and peer support are generally associated with improved glycemic control, better self-care, and higher quality of life; however, the type and timing of support are factors that have not yet been fully examined. While family and peer support has been investigated heavily in youth with type 1 diabetes, less focus has been given to its importance in adulthood. Future interventions aimed at family and peer support should consider how to homogenize the use of support and consider specific population-based factors that should be considered to address sociodemographic and cultural factors.


Diabetes Family support Peer support Perceived support Social network 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joni S. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rebekah J. Walker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leonard E. Egede
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Center for Advancing Population Science (CAPS)Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA

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