Description: Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) has an estimated incidence of nearly 11 million US adults aged 65 years and older. Evidence suggests that the quality of the marital relationship is an important factor for diabetes related health outcomes affecting self-management and adherence (Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton, 2001). However, an individual in need may compensate for primary support that is unavailable or not optimal by looking for other sources of support, which may be important for health outcomes (Rini, et al., 2008). The present study examined compensation for poor spousal support through other social relationships. A total of 12,640 participants reported they had diabetes and were married (Male = 6,317 and Female = 6,323), and of this group 1,084 men and 583 women had died over the course of the study period. Women reported lower spousal support, but significantly more aggregated social support across relationships than men. Few persons reported low spousal support and low support compensation, rendering the cell sizes highly unequal and the associated data uninterpretable. Ancillary analyses were conducted with the idea that some variance in total compensation support may moderate mortality risk finding that higher aggregated social support across non-spousal relationships was associated with lower risk of death accounting for ~3% of the variance in the final model. The current findings demonstrate how an individual can compensate for a poor primary support relationship through a broader support network. These findings should guide future research to focus on how individuals build, maintain, and seek support from social relationships.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Smith, Lauren Marie