Couples intervention beneficial for partners of patients with diabetes


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Noticias Médicas Univadis
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Couples interventions may have beneficial effects for partners of individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D), suggests new research published in Diabetic Medicine. 

The study compared the outcomes of partners from the Diabetes Support Project (DSP), a 12-month, randomised controlled trial involving couples in which one partner had T2D with poor glycaemic control. The couples were randomised to receive either couples intervention calls (CC), individual intervention calls for patients (IC) and individual diabetes education calls for patients (DE). Blinded assessments were performed to explore ‘ripple effects’ or positive behavioural changes seen in partners.

It found that compared with partners in the IC and DE groups, CC partners had greater reductions in diabetes distress, greater increases in marital satisfaction, and some improvements in diastolic blood pressure. There was no evidence of a ripple effect on dietary or activity behaviour.

“Providers often worry about engaging partners for fear they'll become a member of the ‘diabetes police’ and cause tension in the relationship. We found that involved partners benefited emotionally and also felt better about their relationship, as they worked together to deal with the challenges of diabetes,” said lead author Dr Paula Trief of SUNY Upstate Medical University in the US.