JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relationships of religion and spirituality to glycemic control in Black women with type 2 diabetes

Kelley Newlin, Gail D Melkus, Ruth Tappen, Deborah Chyun, Harold G Koenig
Nursing Research 2008, 57 (5): 331-9
18794717

BACKGROUND: Although religion and spirituality are prominent in the lives of Black women with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), there is little research on the relationships of religion and spirituality to glycemic control (GC) in this population.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relations of religion and spirituality to GC.

METHODS: Using a cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational design, a convenience sample of 109 Black women with T2DM was recruited. Measures of demographic (age, income, and education), clinical (body mass index and use of diabetes medications), psychosocial (emotional distress and social support), religion and spirituality (religious and existential well-being), and GC (hemoglobin A1c) factors were collected. A theoretical model, based on the work of Koenig, McCullough, and Larson (2001), informed linear regression analyses to examine the relations of religion and spirituality to GC, with psychosocial factors as putative mediators.

RESULTS: With age (beta = -.133, SE = .020, p = .145), income (beta = .020, SE = .139, p = .853), education (beta = -.221, SE = .204, p = .040), body mass index (beta = -.237, SE = .031, p = .011), and diabetes medications (beta = .338, SE = .216, p < .001) held constant, religion and spirituality demonstrated significant relations with GC (beta = .289, SE = .032, p = .028 and beta = - .358, SE = .030, p = .006, respectively). Evidence of emotional distress and social support as mediators in the relationships of religion and spirituality to GC was lacking.

DISCUSSION: Religion and spirituality were related to GC, with evidence of psychosocial mediation lacking, thereby forcing revision of the model for the study population. Research is warranted to validate the findings, with further examination of theoretical mediators linking religion and spirituality to GC. Findings suggest that religion and spirituality be addressed in diabetes care to improve GC in Black women with T2DM.

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