OBJECTIVE: To evaluate quantitatively whether the work environments of adults with diabetes relate to the adequacy of metabolic control and/or to the individual's adaptation to diabetes and to explore qualitatively the interactions between an individual's life at work and ways of coping with diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 129 insulin-requiring adults who were employed outside of the home were assessed on a single occasion. They completed two work system measures (The Work Environment Scale and The Work Apgar Scale) and two quality-of-life measures (The Diabetes Quality of Life Scale and The Appraisal of Diabetes Scale). Subjects also participated in a semi-structured interview concerning the interaction of work and diabetes. Glycemic control was assessed by using HbAlc results. Demographic data (age, sex, diabetes type, duration of diabetes, number of diabetes-related medical complications) were gathered from the charts. RESULTS: Concerning glycemic control, neither of the work system measures was a significant predictor of HbAlc. Concerning psychosocial adaptation, supervisor support was found to be a significant predictor of positive appraisal and diabetes-related satisfaction. Involvement and coworker cohesion also predicted aspects of diabetes-related quality of life. Interview themes showed that for a minority (18%), diabetes affected choice of work and that for a majority (60%), diabetes affected relationships at work and raised financial/job concerns (49%). Most adjust their diet, blood glucose testing, and exercise regimen through work-related modifications. CONCLUSIONS: For insulin-treated adults with diabetes, work system variables do not directly relate to glycemic control, but they do relate to psychosocial adaptation. Future work should examine further the specific aspects of the workplace that might affect adaptation, with the goal being to develop worksite interventions that target not only the employee with diabetes but also their supervisors and coworkers.

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