Financial insecurities hinder women from adhering to diabetes regimen

May 9, 2014 by Jared Wadley

(Medical Xpress)—Changes imposed by a diabetes regimen are considered unmanageable by financially insecure women, a new University of Michigan study indicates.

Study participants who were brought up with fewer resources were more likely to have family members who were diabetic when fewer treatment options were available, exposing them to the worst-case scenario. Women with more resources were aware of less severe cases and typically had more ties to the health care field.

"It became apparent that having previous knowledge about and the regimen, as well as having previous experiences viewing complications unfold among loved ones, shaped the experience of diagnosis and attitudes toward diabetes," said Emily Nicklett, U-M assistant professor of social work and the study's lead author.

Financially secure have greater access to self- and a more optimistic outlook than women who don't have the same financial security.

Nicklett, who published the research with colleague Sara Kuzminski Damiano of the University of Southern California, examined experiences among women with Type 2 diabetes in the Detroit area. Their ages ranged from 51 to 92. They were asked when they learned they had diabetes, their interaction with the doctor, their daily routine and their financial status. Results were based on surveys as well as semi-structured interviews.

Research participants recalled experiencing fear, depression or denial after being diagnosed with diabetes. Those with a more favorable financial situation tended to be more optimistic about their diagnosis: "I can handle it."

Knowledge and experience about diabetes prior to diagnosis could be partially responsible for this difference.

More information: Emily Joy Nicklett and Sara Kuzminski Damiano. "Too little, too late: Socioeconomic disparities in the experience of women living with diabetes." Qualitative Social Work May 2014 13: 372-388, first published on February 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/1473325014522572

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