Coping with type-2 diabetes: the role of sense of coherence compared with active management
Changes in lifestyle, particularly in dietary and exercise habits, are necessary for the majority of patients with type-2 diabetes but are difficult to carry out. However, Antonovsky describes a salutogenic health perspective grounded in patients’ developing what he terms ‘a sense of coherence’ (SOC). Can a strong SOC help diabetes patients to control the disease? The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between SOC and treatment results measured as glucolysed haemoglobine (HbA1c) in patients with type-2 diabetes. The aim was further to test the relationship between treatment results and an index of patients’ participation in active management and emotional state. Eighty-eight patients answered a questionnaire containing 13 statements about sense of coherence (SOC-13), questions about self-assessed health, diabetes activity such as self-management of diet, exercise and self-control of blood sugar and emotional acceptance. There was no direct relationship between SOC-13 and treatment results measured as HbA1c but there was a positive correlation between SOC-13, self-assessed health and HbA1c (P < 0·02). Self-assessed health was seen as a mediating factor. The better patients’ estimation of their own health, the higher were SOC-13 scores and the lower HbA1c. There was also a strong positive correlation between low levels of HbA1c and high levels of an index of active management and emotional acceptance of diabetes (P < 0·001).