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J Behav Med. 2008 Apr;31(2):93-103.

Reactions to health-related social control in young adults with type 1 diabetes.

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Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2424 Erwin Road, Hock Plaza, Suite 1105, P.O. Box 2720, Durham, NC 27705, USA.


Health-related social control refers to individuals' attempts to influence another's health behavior. We describe social control experienced by 109 adults aged 18-35 with Type 1 diabetes, and examine the influence of different types of social control on behavioral and psychological outcomes. Using a self-administered questionnaire, telephone interview, and chart review, we assessed individuals' social control experiences, behavioral and psychological reactions, psychological adjustment, metabolic control, socio-demographics, and clinical factors at baseline, and psychological adjustment and metabolic control at 6-months follow-up. Most participants (85%) reported experiencing social control. Regression analyses revealed that more frequent negative control predicted less behavior change and more negative cognitive reactions concurrently, and decreases in psychological adjustment over time. More frequent reinforcement/modeling and structural changes predicted more positive emotional reactions, but were not associated with behavior change, psychological adjustment, or metabolic control. Use of direct persuasion was associated with more pretending of behavior change. These results suggest that negative social control attempts by social network members may be counter-productive.

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