The Effects of a Diabetes Support Group among Underserved: A Feasibility Study

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 9:10 AM

Patricia K. Gatlin, PhD
School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Jillian Inouye, PhD, APRN, FAAN
Schools of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Background:Diabetes is a global health care problem with increasing number in all countries. Particularly, underserved diverse individuals in the United States are among the hardest hit by diabetes, having higher rates of diabetes and poorer outcomes (Black, 2002; Hu, Shi, Rane, Jinsheng, & Chen, 2014; Lanting, Joung, Mackenbach, Lamberts, & Bootsma, 2005; Mokdad et al., 2001; Saydah & Lochner, 2010; Wild, McKnight, McConnachie, & Lindsay, 2010). Good self-management can improve glucose control and improve diabetes complications. However, this can be challenging to achieve due to multiple factors among the underserved (Black, 2002; Hu et al., 2014; Lanting et al., 2005; Mokdad et al., 2001; Saydah & Lochner, 2010; Wild et al., 2010). Peer support has been shown to improve glucose control and provide an avenue to develop self-care activities to promote health (Philis-Tsimikas, Adelaide, Lieva-Ocana, Walker, & Gallo, 2011; Thom et al., 2013; Wulp, de Leeuw, Gorter, & Rutten, 2012).

Purpose:The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and examine the effects of a diabetes support group on underserved individuals with type 2 diabetes at a Federally Qualified Health Care Clinic.

Methods:The study used a pretest/posttest design to examine diabetes knowledge, diabetes attitude, and empowerment, after a 6-week support group intervention. Feasibility and acceptability of the support group intervention was assessed by examining ease of recruitment, retention rates, and overall satisfaction.

Findings:Successful recruitment of participants came from the providers at the clinic via flyers and word of mouth. Thirteen individuals initially attended the support group with 10 individuals (average age 53 years) completing the designed program, yielding a retention rate of 76.9%. Of the three participates that dropped out of the support group, one moved out of state due to financial reasons, one due to hospitalization and the other was due to unknown reasons. Overall satisfaction with the support group was 100%. Paired sample t-test indicated that participants’ demonstrated significantly higher levels of knowledge about diabetes (p < .0005), a significant increase in diabetes attitude score (p <.006), and a significant increase in empowerment scores/self-efficacy (p<.0005) following the intervention of the diabetes support group.

Conclusions/Implications: Findings from this feasibility study suggest that a diabetes support group can have a positive effect on underserved individuals and may result in increased diabetes knowledge, positive changes in attitude over the disease and increased empowerment/self-efficacy. Also, peer support programs can have global implications by improving diabetes self-care.