Assessing sources of support for diabetes self-care in urban and rural underserved communities

J Community Health. 2006 Oct;31(5):393-412. doi: 10.1007/s10900-006-9018-4.


The ability of adults with diabetes to manage their illness properly and prevent complications is, in part, a function of support provided by the people and institutions surrounding them. Using data from over 200 adults with diabetes in two medically underserved communities--one urban and one rural--this study examines the self-care specific support provided by four key sources: family and friends, community organizations, one's neighbors and neighborhood, and resources in the wider community. More specifically, this study aims to assess the support needs of adults with diabetes in these communities by estimating their rates of various self-care behaviors, the amount of support provided by key sources, and the associations between support from these sources and adherence to recommended diabetes self-care behaviors. Descriptive findings indicate that close to 40% of the sample failed to report at least moderate levels of adherence, and that physical activity in the rural community, and smoking in the urban community represent particular problem areas. Individuals from the urban sub-sample reported receiving more support from all of the sources assessed. Logistic regression models indicated that one's neighbors and neighborhood resources appear to have a broad influence on adherence to diabetes self-care behaviors. Support from family and friends, as well as from community organizations, also seems to be important. These results have implications for the design of interventions aimed at bolstering support for diabetes self-care, and point to the need for an enhanced focus on strengthening the social environmental resources of adults with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • New York
  • Rural Population*
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support*
  • Urban Population*