Interventions identified as useful for therapists working with families managing adult onset type II diabetes

Date

2008-05

Authors

Allard, Patricia

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify interventions or themes that could be helpful for family therapists working with couples coping with self management of adult onset type II diabetes. This study explored the positive influence of spousal support on self management of adult onset type II diabetes. Family resources and relationships are seen as crucial factors that may influence the way that couples cope with chronic illness.

Qualitative research techniques were used in this study and the interview inquiry method was executed. The phenomenological research method was utilized in order to collect the rich meanings of their experiences from married participants diagnosed with adult onset type II diabetes. Purposive sampling was utilized and ten participants were interviewed in this research. The pilot study was processed and all the data were transcribed. The computer software, NVivo 7.0, was employed for extracting and clustering meanings and themes. All participants were enrolled in an outpatient diabetes management program. All interviews were performed at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. A peer review in data analysis by two other graduate students was utilized for triangulation in order to reach an agreeable level of validity.

Themes were placed into seven primary categories including: acceptance, family and spousal behaviors, communications, life style changes, strengths impacting the relationship, professional healthcare support and professional mental healthcare support. The ten participants had an average age of 53.6 years. Ages ranged from 30 to 69 years old. As shown in Table 1, three of the participants were male and seven were female. Seven of the participants were Caucasian, two were Hispanic, and one was Asian. Participants had been living with diabetes for an average often years (Mean = 9.86), with a range of five months to 57 years. Similarly, participants had been managing their diabetes for an average of 10.5 years (Mean = 10.6), with a range of five months to 57 years.

Several themes crucial to family therapy interventions were elicited. A clear concept of helpful and supportive behaviors, communications and strengths were identified. Although positive spousal and family support does not erase the impact of challenging or detrimental behaviors and communications it is a start for family therapeutic interventions. A family in conflict may grow and heal significantly when practicing resilient and supportive life styles.

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Keywords

Social sciences, Psychology, Coping, Diabetes, Families and diabetes, Family relationships, Family therapists, Interventions, Type II diabetes

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