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Diabetes Care. 2001 Aug;24(8):1384-9.

The marital relationship and psychosocial adaptation and glycemic control of individuals with diabetes.

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State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, Syracuse 13210, USA.



To explore the relationship between marital relationship domains (i.e., intimacy and adjustment) and glycemic control and psychosocial adaptation to diabetes.


A total of 78 insulin-treated adults with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were assessed on a single occasion. They completed two marital quality measures (Spanier Dyadic Adjustment Scale and Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships Scale) and four quality-of-life measures (Diabetes Quality of Life Scale, Medical Outcomes Study Health Survey, Problem Areas in Diabetes Scale, and Positive and Negative Affect Scale). Glycemic control was assessed by HbA(1c). Demographic data (age, sex, type and duration of diabetes, years married, other medical conditions, family history, disability, and years of education) were gathered from the chart and questionnaires.


Concerning psychosocial adaptation, both of the marital quality measures were predictors of aspects of adaptation. Better marital satisfaction was related to higher levels of diabetes-related satisfaction and less impact, as well as less diabetes-related distress and better general quality of life. Higher levels of marital intimacy were related to better diabetes-specific and general quality of life. Concerning glycemic control, there was a nonsignificant trend for marital adjustment scores to relate to HbA(1c) (P = 0.0568).


For insulin-treated adults with diabetes, quality of marriage is associated with adaptation to diabetes and other aspects of health-related quality of life. The suggestive finding that marital adjustment may relate to glycemic control warrants further study. Future work should also explore the impact of couples-focused interventions on adaptation, adherence, and glycemic control.

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