Background: Adults with diabetes often receive self-management support from family and friends (care partners) living in and outside of their home. Helpful involvement from care partners (CPs) has positive impacts on diabetes self-management. Less is known regarding the relationship between the number of CPs and the level of helpful and harmful involvement. We examined the relationship between the number of in and out-of-home CPs and helpful and harmful involvement in patients’ diabetes self-management.
Methods: Adults with type 2 diabetes (N=369) were recruited from a web-based panel. Participants completed the Family and Friend Involvement in Adults’ Diabetes (FIAD) scale and reported the number of in and out-of-home CPs who provide help with their diabetes self-management. A two-step hierarchical linear regression was used to examine the linear and quadratic trends between number of in and out-of-home CPs and helpful and harmful involvement in diabetes self-care, controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Results: There was a positive linear relationship between the number of in and out-of-home CPs, and helpful and harmful involvement (p’s; range < .001 to .003). The addition of quadratic terms accounted for a significant increase in explained variance in helpful and harmful involvement (p’s < .001). There was a positive trend between the number of in and out-of-home CPs and helpful and harmful involvement among adults with up to approximately 5 CPs. In contrast, there was a negative trend between these variables among individuals with 5 or more CPs.
Conclusions: Patients with a relatively small or large number of CPs, receive less helpful and harmful support. Large CP networks are not necessarily indicative of high levels of helpful involvement in patients’ diabetes self-care. CP interventions should attempt to enhance helpful involvement while minimizing harmful involvement in these populations.
B. Lewis: None. S. R. Kollin: None. A. A. Lee: None.