Influences of spousal support and control on diabetes management through physical activity

Health Psychol. 2013 Jul;32(7):739-47. doi: 10.1037/a0028609. Epub 2012 Jun 18.


Objectives: Spouses may be involved in their partner's diabetes management by providing social support to affirm healthy behaviors and social control to modify health behaviors. Yet, investigations of the influence of spousal involvement on daily patient health behaviors are limited. In daily diaries, we investigated how spousal support and control independently and jointly influence patient physical activity and efficacy to engage in physical exercise on a daily basis.

Methods: Older adults (age 55 and older) with Type 2 diabetes and their spouses (N = 70 couples) completed electronic diaries for seven consecutive days that assessed spouse-reported involvement and patient-reported minutes of physical exercise and efficacy to engage in future physical exercise. A subset of patients (N = 53) also wore an activity monitoring device on the wrist that provided a measure of energy expenditure.

Results: Multilevel analyses indicated that on a daily basis, spousal support was positively associated with physical activity, whereas spousal control was either unrelated or linked to less physical activity. On days in which spouses provided high levels of both support and control, however, patients felt more efficacious that day about exercising tomorrow and exhibited an increase in energy expenditure on the next day.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that spousal exercise support on its own or in conjunction with spousal exercise control may facilitate daily diabetes management through physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support*
  • Spouses / psychology*