Coping with diabetes in adulthood: a meta-analysis

J Behav Med. 2008 Aug;31(4):291-300. doi: 10.1007/s10865-008-9155-6. Epub 2008 May 21.


Objective: A meta-analysis was performed to summarize the relations between coping dimensions (i.e., avoidance, approach, emotion-focused, and problem-focused) and indices of adjustment (i.e., overall, depression, anxiety, glycemic control) in individuals with diabetes.

Methods: Relevant methodological and statistical information was culled from 21 primary studies consisting of 3,381 people with diabetes. The correlation coefficient was used as the target effect size.

Results: Use of approach and problem-focused coping was associated with better overall adjustment (small-to-medium effect sizes). Avoidance and emotion-focused coping were not significantly related to overall adjustment. However, negative effect sizes medium-to-large in magnitude were found between emotion-focused coping and specific indices of adjustment (anxiety, depression).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that coping methods aimed at assuaging both the concomitant negative feelings and specific stressors, such as meeting with doctors and engaging in a new treatment regimen commonly associated with diabetes management, largely improve psychological health. However, these relations are dependent upon both the specific coping method used and the index of adjustment assessed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior*
  • Male
  • Problem Solving