Developing an intervention to reduce diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and their partners

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

This thesis reviews and augments existing evidence surrounding the psychosocial aspects of living with Type 2 diabetes. There is a specific emphasis on the factors which underpin diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, which pertains also to the influence of partners or spouses on psychological adjustment to diabetes. This research develops and presents a conceptual framework of the key determinants of diabetes distress, providing focus and content for an intervention to address distress among couples living with Type 2 diabetes. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of diabetes distress; including prevalence, clinical relevance, and the cognitive, interpersonal and behaviour factors which are believed to drive this condition-specific distress. There is also an emphasis on existing strategies to improve both psychological and medical outcomes in Type 2 diabetes, which identified a need to evolve psychosocial support for individuals who are struggling to manage diabetes. Importantly, this chapter provided a rationale and direction for the studies reported in prospective chapters. Chapter 2 broadens the focus of psychosocial support in diabetes, to consider also the importance of considering partners or spouses in interventions to improve health outcomes in the context of different chronic physical conditions. This systematic review conveys the benefits of partner inclusion in interventions and highlights a number of shortcomings pertaining to couples intervention work. In particular, the review identifies a scarcity of couples intervention work in the context of Type 2 diabetes.
The cross-sectional questionnaire study in Chapter 3 captures the predictive influence of illness perception clusters, coping styles, and relationship quality on diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Of note, this work identifies negative belief and coping patterns which coincide and exacerbate distress, and presents a novel method of distinguishing those most at risk of elevated diabetes distress. Chapter 4 investigates the influence of partners’ diabetes beliefs on diabetes distress over time. This study demonstrates the moderating influence of partners’ illness perceptions on the association between persons with Type 2 diabetes illness perceptions and diabetes distress, and reveals that such effects persist overtime. Furthermore, Chapter 5 explores narratives of diabetes distress among couples living with Type 2 diabetes and among healthcare professionals, by means of individual semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Expanding on the findings of Chapters 3 and 4, this qualitative work compares experiences of distress from the perspectives of individuals with diabetes and those who support them in a personal and professional capacity, in an attempt to understand how communication and interpersonal conflicts might emerge in day to day life. Importantly, Chapter 5 discerns a perceived need for an intervention to reduce diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and their loved ones, and provides direction for the design and implementation of an intervention of this nature.
Chapter 6 draws upon existing and primary evidence pertaining to the cognitive, interpersonal, and behavioural factors which underpin diabetes distress, and provides recommendations for the design and implementation of an intervention to address diabetes distress in couples living with Type 2 diabetes. The feasibility study described in Chapter 7 assesses the acceptability, potential effectiveness, and practical implementation of a brief psychoeducational intervention to address diabetes distress in people with Type 2 diabetes and their partners or family members. The findings of Chapter 7 highlight important strengths and shortcomings of providing an intervention of this nature, which are expanded on in the main discussion in Chapter 8. Chapter 8 provides a broad overview of the rationale for this PhD research and reflects on the primary work undertaken to date. Crucially, this discussion chapter provides recommendations on how key strengths of the feasibility study described in Chapter 7 can be enhanced and how observed shortcomings can be addressed in future studies. Finally, there is consideration of how aspects of the intervention described in Chapters 6 and 7 may feasibly be incorporated into existing programmes of diabetes support.
Date of AwardMay 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorMartin Dempster (Supervisor) & Mark Davies (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Diabetes distress
  • Psychological support

Cite this

Developing an intervention to reduce diabetes distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and their partners
Berry, E. (Author). May 2018

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy