Original Research

Social support and coping in adults with type 2 diabetes

Samantha Ramkisson, Basil J. Pillay, Wilbert Sibanda
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1405 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1405 | © 2017 Samantha Ramkisson, Basil J. Pillay, Wilbert Sibanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 December 2016 | Published: 31 July 2017

About the author(s)

Samantha Ramkisson, Department of Behavioural Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Basil J. Pillay, Department of Behavioural Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Wilbert Sibanda, Department of Behavioural Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The diagnosis of diabetes has been described as a lifelong psychological burden on the patient and his or her family. Social support plays a pivotal role in patients with diabetes and is important in enabling them to cope effectively with the disease. There is a dearth of research on social support and coping in patients with diabetes in South Africa.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore whether patients with poor perceived social support have lower levels of well-being and coping than patients with good social support.
Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted at both public and private facilities on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Diabetes Care Profile (DCP), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) and the WHO-5 Well-being Index (WHO-5) were administered to 401 participants.
Results: The findings indicate that there is an inverse relationship between social support and coping, which suggests that an increase in social support is associated with a decrease in emotional distress. There was a small positive correlation between the SSQ and the WHO-5, which suggests participants who had good support endorsed better levels of well-being. Although participants indicated that they were satisfied with their level of support, they had poor coping as indicated by the high mean score on the GHQ and the high HbA1c level. There was a small positive correlation between GHQ and HbA1c. There was no association between social support and HbA1c.
Conclusion: Social support is important in helping the patient with diabetes cope with the disease and to improve adherence to treatment. Health care providers should take cognisance of psychosocial factors in the treatment regime of the patient. Family members should be educated about diabetes, the importance of adherence and long-term complications of the disease.

Keywords

Social support; coping; Type 2 diabetes

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