EMPOWERMENT, SOCIAL SUPPORT, AND GLYCEMIC CONTROL: DOES A RELATIONSHIP EXIST?
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Type 1 diabetes mellitus accounts for approximately 5% to 10% of diagnosed diabetes in the United States according to the National Institute of Health. Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect numerous organs of the body. The occurrence of complications from type 1 diabetes mellitus can be lowered by controlling blood glucose levels. To actively engage the patient in the treatment process, providers should focus patient education strategies on empowerment by facilitating the development of self-management capabilities. Social support, which has been shown to be an important factor in a patient's quality of life, also may affect patient self-care and diabetes outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify whether a relationship exists among empowerment, social support, and glycemic control in adult patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. The researcher utilized Orem's Self-Care Model to conduct a descriptive, correlational study with a convenience sample of adult type 1 diabetics from a central Wisconsin clinic. Through three questionnaires -- demographics including glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, the Diabetes Empowerment Scale Short Form (DES-SF), and Norbeck?s Social Support Questionnaire (NSSQ) -- data was analyzed with correlational and descriptive statistics. Using a Pearson r, no significant correlation existed between empowerment and HbA1c (r = 0.390, p = 0.388) or total functional support and HbA1c (r = -0.677, p = 0.140). There was an inverse relationship between empowerment and total functional support (r = -0.868, p = 0.025).
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