Spousal support and food-related behavior change in middle-aged and older adults living with type 2 diabetes

Health Educ Behav. 2008 Oct;35(5):707-20. doi: 10.1177/1090198107299787. Epub 2007 Apr 24.


One of the most challenging diabetes-related behavior changes is adhering to a healthful diet. Drawing on the social cognitive theory and social support literature, this qualitative study explores how spousal support influences dietary changes following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and older adults. The purpose of this study was to determine how aspects of the spousal relationship translate into behavior changes, specifically adherence to a healthful diet. Analyses revealed five core themes related to dietary adherence: control over food, dietary competence, commitment to support, spousal communication, and coping with diabetes. The themes can be categorized within two key social cognitive theory constructs: reinforcement and self-efficacy. Implications from the focus group data can inform the development of more effective, targeted nutrition messages and programs to provide specific knowledge and skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diet, Diabetic / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Spouses / psychology*