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Racial differences in diabetes-related psychosocial factors and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes

Authors Hausmann L, Ren D, Sevick MA

Published 13 August 2010 Volume 2010:4 Pages 291—299


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Leslie RM Hausmann1, Dianxu Ren2, Mary Ann Sevick1,3,4,5

1Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, 3Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 2School of Nursing, 4School of Medicine, 5Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Background: We examined whether diabetes-related psychosocial factors differ between African American and white patients with type 2 diabetes. We also tested whether racial differences in glycemic control are independent of such factors.
Methods: Baseline glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and survey measures from 79 African American and 203 white adult participants in a diabetes self-management clinical trial were analyzed.
Results: Several psychosocial characteristics varied by race. Perceived interference of diabetes with daily life, perceived diabetes severity, and diabetes-related emotional distress were higher for African Americans than for whites, as were access to illness-management resources and social support. Mean HbA1c levels were higher among African Americans than whites (8.14 vs 7.40, beta = 0.17). This difference persisted after adjusting for demographic, clinical, and diabetes-related psychosocial characteristics that differed by race (beta = 0.18). Less access to illness-management resources (beta= –0.25) and greater perceived severity of diabetes (beta= 0.21) also predicted higher HbA1c.
Discussion: Although racial differences in diabetes-related psychosocial factors were observed, African Americans continued to have poorer glycemic control than whites even after such differences were taken into account. Interventions that target psychosocial factors related to diabetes management, particularly illness-management resources, may be a promising way to improve glycemic control for all patients.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, type 2, minority health, health status disparities, psychosocial factors, disease management

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