• diabetes;
  • household structure;
  • psychosocial adjustment;
  • coping;
  • social support;
  • personal resources

Women’s psychosocial adjustment to diabetes

Successful adjustment to a chronic illness such as diabetes mellitus is influenced by a variety of psychosocial factors. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which social support, personal resources, coping styles, and psychosocial adjustment to illness differ among women with diabetes living in different types of household structure and to explore the influence of social support, personal resources, coping styles, and household structure on the psychosocial adjustment of women with diabetes. Data were collected in 1995. The convenience sample included 115 diabetic women with an average age of 48 years. Mean length of time from diagnosis was 10 years. Instruments included a demographic data form, a measure of social support, a personal resource scale, the Jalowiec Coping Scale, the Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale-Self-Report, and a self-report item for assessing household structure. Multiple analysis of variance showed that women in various types of households differed in personal resources and coping. Higher levels of social support and more adequate personal resources were associated with more effective coping and better psychosocial adjustment. The effective use of confrontive, optimistic, supportant and self-reliant coping was associated with better psychosocial adjustment, while evasive and emotive coping styles were associated with more adjustment problems. Multiple regression showed that 47% of the variance in adjustment was explained by personal resources and social support. Findings indicated that women in various types of households differed in the adequacy of their resources and in the ways that they cope with diabetes. Findings further indicated that greater social support, more adequate personal resources, and more effective coping are associated with better adjustment.