Ginny has been assigned a major project at work. She breaks the project into parts and establishes goals and a…
August 19, 2020
August 19, 2020

opinion writing

Diabetes Management: An
Exploration into the Verbal Support
Attempts of Relational Others
Darlene K. Drummond
This research employed a message-centered approach to explore how women managing
diabetes through diet modification describe the support attempts of relational others
including family, friends, co-workers and health professionals. In-depth interviews with
30 women diagnosed with non-insulin dependent diabetes were conducted. From this
data, five speech acts that women with diabetes encounter when attempting to engage in
healthy eating behaviors were identified and illustrated: deterrence, indifference,
encouragement, compliment and temptation. The context and features of the acts are
dissected to better understand when an act is perceived as supportive or nonsupportive.
Keywords: Social support; Diabetes management; Diet
Many diabetics do not exercise regularly nor maintain healthy diets to lose the
weight necessary to acquire glycemic control (Glasgow et al., 1989; Wilson et al.,
1986). This is particularly the case for overweight, middle-aged women living with
diabetes (Wing, Marcus, Epstein, & Jawad, 1991). As a result, approximately 160,000
Americans die each year from diabetes and its related complications including heart
disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and gangrene (Shortridge-Baggett & van der
Bijl, 1996). Nevertheless, several psychosocial factors like patient knowledge, previous
levels of adherence, perceived confidence in one’s ability to perform a behavior and
level of satisfaction with health care influence attempts to manage diabetes (Burke &
Dunbar-Jacob, 1995). One of the most salient and positively influential factors is the
availability of social support (Pham, Fortin, & Thibaudeau, 1996).


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