Influence of functional impairment and social support on depressive symptoms in persons with diabetes

Health Psychol. 1990;9(6):737-49. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.9.6.737.


Tested the buffering model of social support among 158 adults with diabetes. We predicted that, among patients with higher levels of illness-related impairment, adequate social support would act as a buffer against depression. Measures included the Beck Depression Inventory; the Sickness Impact Profile; and an assessment of the adequacy of social support to enable the patient to deal with illness-related tasks, domestic chores, financial responsibilities, and emotional needs. Depressive symptoms correlated positively with functional impairment (r = .58, p less than .001) and negatively with the adequacy of social support (r = -.31, p less than .001). In addition, social support moderated depression in the face of greater impairment such that, among patients who reported the most illness-related functional disabilities, adequate support provided a relative protection from depression. The findings suggest that individuals with inadequate support are most at risk to become depressed when disability related to illness increases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Tests
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Support*