Evaluative Coping, Emotional Distress, and Adherence in Couples With Type 2 Diabetes

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Abstract

Introduction: Spousal support is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of Type 2 diabetes treatment adherence. However, the effects of both spouses’ evaluations of dyadic coping on emotional distress and patients’ physical health remain largely unknown. Method: Dyadic data from 117 married couples in which one member is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were evaluated in two separate models to explore the associations between (a) patients’ and spouses’ depression symptoms and patients’ adherence to dietary and exercise regimens, and (b) patients’ and spouses’ acute stress levels and patients’ adherence to dietary and exercise regimens. Finally, evaluative dyadic coping was included as a possible moderator between these associations. Results: Results from an actor-partner interdependence model revealed significant actor effects of patients’ depression symptoms on patients’ adherence to dietary and exercise regimens. Spouses’ evaluation of dyadic coping attenuated the direct paths between spouses’ depression symptoms and patients’ adherence to dietary regimens. No direct pathways were found from patients’ or spouses’ acute stress to patients’ adherence to dietary and exercise regimens. However, spouses’ evaluation of dyadic coping attenuated the direct paths between spouses’ acute stress and patients’ adherence to dietary regimens. Discussion: Tapping into spouses’ evaluations of dyadic coping has significant implications for patients’ diabetes health outcomes (e.g., adherence to dietary and exercise treatment regimens). Findings from this study highlight the need for systemic interventions targeting both partners.

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