Social integration and diabetes management among rural older adults

J Aging Health. 2012 Sep;24(6):899-922. doi: 10.1177/0898264312449186. Epub 2012 Jul 4.


Objective: To describe diabetes management behaviors and social integration among older adults, and delineate the associations of social integration with diabetes management behaviors.

Method: Interview data from 563 African American, American Indian, and White participants (age 60+) from eight south central North Carolina counties selected using a site-based procedure. Statistical analysis comprises descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis, and multivariate analysis.

Results: Participants had high levels of social integration and largely adhered to diabetes management behaviors (glucose monitoring, checking feet, maintaining diet, formal exercise program, health provider monitoring A1C and examining feet). Social integration was associated with several behaviors; social network size, particularly other relatives seen and spoken with on the telephone, was associated with provider A1C monitoring and foot examinations.

Discussion: Social integration had small but significant associations with diabetes management behaviors. This analysis suggests specific mechanisms for how social integration influences the effect of disease on disability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population* / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Social Support