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Saudi J Med Med Sci. 2019 May-Aug;7(2):86-92. doi: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_44_18. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Association between Social Support and Diabetes Burden among Elderly Patients with Diabetes: A Cross-Sectional Study from Turkey.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Sindirgi Balikesir State Hospital, Balikesir, Turkey.



Elderly patients with diabetes receiving social support are likely to have better compliance with their disease self-care. However, no previous study from Turkey has assessed the effect of social support on diabetes burden among elderly patients.


The objective of this study was to assess the association between social support and disease burden among elderly patients with diabetes in Turkey.

Materials and Methods:

This cross-sectional study included 271 randomly selected elderly patients with diabetes who presented to the internal medicine and diabetes polyclinics of three state hospitals (Sindirgi State Hospital, Balikesir Ataturk State Hospital and Balikesir State Hospital) in Balikesir, Turkey, between April and November 2017. A single interviewer collected all data using a sociodemographic form, the Elderly Diabetes Burden Scale (EDBS) and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Data were analyzed using arithmetic averages, percentages and Pearson's correlation.


The mean age of the participants was 72 ± 5.2 (65-88) years, and most (53.6%) were females and lived with their family: spouse (58.3%), children (18.5%) or both (17.7%). The mean EDBS score was 35.21 ± 6.94 (25-69), and the mean MSPSS score was 67.81 ± 17.33 (12-112). A significant negative correlation was found between the mean total of both assessment tools (P < 0.05), indicating diabetes burden was higher among those with lower social support. A similar significant correlation was observed between symptom burden, social burden, burden of dietary restrictions, burden by tablets or insulin and the total EDBS score.


This study found that in Balikesir, Turkey, social support for elderly patients with diabetes was mostly provided by their families and that their diabetes burden decreased with increased social support levels.


Burden; Turkey; diabetes; elderly; family; social support

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