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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The relationship between anxiety, coping strategies and characteristics of patients with diabetes

Tarik Tuncay, Ilgen Musabak, Deniz Engin Gok, Mustafa Kutlu
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2008, 6: 79
18851745

BACKGROUND: This study provided essential information, about Turkish patients with type I and type II diabetes, concerning: levels of anxiety, coping strategies used, and relationships that exist among anxiety, coping strategies, sociodemographic and medical characteristics.

METHODS: A sample comprising 161 Turkish adults with both types of diabetes participated in the study. The trait anxiety scale, the brief COPE, sociodemographic and medical questionnaire were administered to patients with diabetes.

RESULTS: The mean age was 49.01 (SD = 9.74), with a range from 20 to 60 years. The majority of the participants were female (60.9%) and type II diabetes (75.8%). 79% of the participants experienced anxiety. A clear majority of the participants reported to integrate their diabetes. Acceptance, religion, planning, positive reframing, instrumental support, emotional support, self-distraction and venting were the most frequently used coping strategies. The most frequently used problem-focused and the emotion-focused coping strategies were found to be similar in both type I and type II diabetes. However, participants with type II diabetes had relatively higher scores on the problem-focused strategies than those with type I. Participants with type I diabetes used humour, venting and self-blame more than those with type II diabetes. Other findings indicated that only a small minority responded to diabetes-related problems by denial, behavioural disengagement and substance use. Significant correlations were found among anxiety, coping strategies and sociodemographic characteristics of the participants. Moreover, Self-blame was found to be correlated significantly with both the problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies. Self-blame was also significantly correlated with both instrumental support and emotional support indicated that higher self-blame caused more frequent use of instrumental and emotional support by patients with diabetes.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study indicate that care for patients with diabetes should address their physical, psychological, social and economic wellbeing and the findings point to the importance of taking individual coping strategies into account when evaluating the impact of diabetes on psychosocial wellbeing. Because of the mean of anxiety were not in normal range, for this study, health professionals need to pay attention to patient's psychological state. This is especially true for patients who are likely to use self-blame and behavioural disengagement as a coping strategy. Through psychosocial interventions, professionals need to assist patients in establishing positive self evaluations. Delineation of coping strategies might be useful for identifying patients in need of particular counselling and support.

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