Beating diabetes a family challenge

May 18, 2007

Working with family and whanau can help keep people with diabetes well, a University researcher has found. Charlotte Paddison, who graduates with her PhD in psychology before leaving for a research post at Cambridge University, investigated type-two diabetes from a psychological perspective to better understand the mental processes involved in managing the disease.

“What we found was that diabetes is not just about individual self-management but that it’s very important to work with the family or whanau,” Dr Paddison says.

Much of what could be done to keep a person with diabetes well could be influenced by changing behaviours, Dr Paddison says, including modifying food intake to an appropriate diet or increasing the amount of exercise and activity the person takes. These behaviours are strongly influenced by family and whanau and could be supported by them.

“This study showed that having a supportive family is linked to better self-care behaviour and better physiological control of diabetes. Traditionally, clinical care has often focused very much on individuals but this study shows that family and whanau have an important role in helping people with diabetes make healthy choices. This should encourage clinicians to recognise the role family relationships play and to consider ways to promote positive family involvement in diabetes care.”

A further key finding was the impact of how people with diabetes viewed their condition.

“The way people see their diabetes does shape how they take care of themselves, including their diet, exercise and taking medication in the way prescribed. Many people find it hard to make sense of their diabetes and this seems important in explaining why people struggle with self care and unable to achieve good metabolic control.”

Dr Paddison will continue her research into psychological and social factors in chronic diseases at Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine, where she is taking up a post as research associate.

“I was interested in diabetes for two reasons. First of all it is a major international health issue – there will be 333 million people worldwide who will have diabetes by 2025. Diabetes also has serious health consequences including loss of limbs, loss of eyesight and kidney failure, but they are mostly preventable through good self-care - so there is a huge opportunity for health gain.”

Source: Massey University

Explore further: More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The long shadow of World War II

Jan 22, 2014

World War II ravaged much of Europe, and its long-term effects are still being felt. A new survey shows that elderly people who experienced the war as children are more likely to suffer from diabetes, depression ...

Engineers synthesize antibodies with carbon nanotubes

Nov 25, 2013

MIT chemical engineers have developed a novel way to generate nanoparticles that can recognize specific molecules, opening up a new approach to building durable sensors for many different compounds, among ...

Recommended for you

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

19 hours ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...