Diabetes burden and diabetes distress: the buffering effect of social support

Ann Behav Med. 2014 Oct;48(2):145-55. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9585-4.


Background: Few studies have examined protective factors for diabetes distress.

Purpose: This study aimed to examine the moderating role of social support in the relationship between the burden of diabetes and diabetes distress.

Methods: Adults with type 2 diabetes (N = 119; 29 % Latino, 61 % Black, 25 % White) completed validated measures of diabetes distress and social support. Multiple linear regression evaluated the moderating role of social support in the relationship between diabetes burden, indicated by prescription of insulin and presence of complications, and distress.

Results: Greater support satisfaction was significantly associated with lower distress after controlling for burden. Support satisfaction and number of supports significantly moderated the relationship between diabetes burden and distress. Post hoc probing revealed a consistent pattern: Insulin was significantly associated with more diabetes distress at low levels of support but was not at high levels of support.

Conclusion: Findings support the stress-buffering hypothesis and suggest that social support may protect against diabetes distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Insulin