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Development of an unsupportive social interaction scale for patients with diabetes

Authors Baron-Epel O, Heymann AD, Friedman N, Kaplan G

Received 23 February 2015

Accepted for publication 12 May 2015

Published 23 July 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1033—1041


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Orna Baron-Epel,1 Anthony David Heymann,2,3 Nurit Friedman,3 Giora Kaplan4

School of Public Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel; 2Department of Family Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; 3Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, 4Psychosocial Aspects of Health, The Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel

Objectives: The positive aspects of social support and its impact on health have been studied extensively. However, there may also be negative effects of social environments on the diabetic patient. This study developed and validated a new diabetic unsupportive social interaction scale (USIS), including two subscales: interference and insensitivity.
Methods: A list of 22 items depicting unsupportive interactions associated with management of diabetes was developed. A telephone survey was administered to 764 Israelis with diabetes. The questionnaire included the USIS and questions about social networks, social support, health behaviors, and health. The characteristics, validity, and reliability of the scale were tested.
Results: A principal component analysis was performed for extraction of two factors describing unsupportive social interaction concepts: interference and insensitivity. Cronbach’s alpha for the full 15-item scale was 0.84, indicating internal consistency. The two subscales were calculated to have Cronbach’s alphas of 0.85 and 0.73, respectively. The USIS showed construct validity as it was associated with social support, some measures of social networks, subjective measures of health, and health behaviors. Arabs, older respondents, those defining themselves as more religious, and the less educated reported higher rates of unsupportive interactions.
Conclusion: This study suggests a new concept of unsupportive interactions including interference and insensitivity. These unsupportive interactions may adversely affect patients’ ability to adhere to treatment and may undermine their health in various ways. Identifying these problems may enable clinicians to help patients cope with their unsupportive environments.

Keywords: development of scale, unsupportive social interactions, interference, insensitivity, social support, validity

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