An intervention to reduce diabetes distress in couples living with T2 diabetes: theory vs. reality.

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Background: This study assessed the feasibility of a brief psychoeducational intervention addressing diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes (PWT2D) and their partners.
Design: A feasibility study using an explanatory mixed methods design assessed the recruitment, implementation, and acceptability of the intervention.
Methods: PWT2D were recruited from a register of structured diabetes education attenders. Ten PWT2D and four partners attended the one-day intervention. Baseline and post-intervention surveys measured change in diabetes distress (DD), diabetes perceptions, and diabetes empowerment and telephone interviews took place 1 month post-intervention. Within-subjects t-tests and effect sizes assessed score change and Thematic analysis was conducted on the interviews. A survey was administered to non-responders to explore the low (5%) uptake.
Findings: There was a trend for reduced regimen-related distress post-intervention, but little change in DD overall. PWD diabetes empowerment (d=0.54), treatment control perceptions (d=0.68), and concern (d=0.69) increased with a medium effect, and personal control increased with a large effect (d=0.90). Partners’ treatment control perceptions increased with a medium effect (d=0.84). Themes relating to perceived benefits of the intervention included: ‘awareness of how others’ feel about diabetes’, ‘feeling in control’, and ‘interacting with others’. Common reasons for the low-uptake included ‘intervention not needed’, ‘intervention too long’ and ‘other commitments’.
Discussion: Baseline DD was low, which may explain the lack of change post-intervention. Despite this, change in diabetes perceptions and empowerment and the themes reported, suggest that the intervention was beneficial—perhaps as a source of preventative support. Recruitment challenges and implications for future interventions are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 04 Sep 2019
Event33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Duration: 03 Sep 201907 Sep 2019


Conference33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society


  • Diabetes
  • Psychological distress


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