Understanding Diabetes-Related Distress Characteristics and Psychosocial Support Preferences of Urban African American Adults Living With Type 2 Diabetes: A Mixed-Methods Study

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand diabetes-related distress (DRD) characteristics and identify psychosocial support preferences of urban African American adults living with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Methods

A 2-phase, mixed-methods sequential explanatory study design was used to gather data. In phase 1, a purposive sample of participants (N = 155) was recruited and asked to complete a written survey. The Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS17) was used to assess DRD, including subscales—emotional burden (EB), regimen distress (RD), interpersonal distress (ID), and physician distress (PD). In phase 2, a subset of phase 1 participants (N = 23) volunteered to attend 1 of 4 gender-stratified follow-up focus groups to contextualize the quantitative survey results.

Results

Survey findings indicate that on average, participants had moderate levels of DRD (aggregate), RD, and EB but had low ID and PD. During follow-up focus groups, participants described RD and EB as their primary distress types and emphasized that clinicians should prioritize the mental health aspects of T2DM similarly to its physical aspects. Participants expressed a desire for culturally appropriate peer support groups as a psychosocial support resource for distress coping and specifically requested the development of gender-stratified groups and groups for young adults.

Conclusions

Results support the need to screen for and address diabetes-related distress among African American patients with T2DM. Findings also inform the development of culturally appropriate psychosocial support resources to facilitate diabetes-related distress coping.

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