Trusting their doctor helps people manage diabetes

September 27, 2013 by Glenda Fauntleroy, Health Behavior News Service

For people with diabetes, a good relationship with a physician is key to sticking to a treatment plan that can help avoid serious complications. New research in the American Journal of Health Behavior, however, suggests more work may be needed to improve many of these doctor–patient relationships.

Part of includes following a self-care regimen including exercise, monitoring, and taking medication. Research has shown that this is more likely to happen when patients trust their physicians and have good communication about their routines.

For the study, researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, surveyed 563 adults over age 60 with diabetes to assess which patients from various and health characteristics had the most trust in their physicians.

Participants were from rural counties in North Carolina and were White, African American and American Indian. They completed in-home surveys about their diabetes management, such as how often they exercised, had dilated or did self-feet checks, and completed the 11-item General Trust in Physician Scale.

Patients over age 75 had higher trust in their physicians with an average score of 36 compared to the younger participants' 34.1. Those with fewer than three chronic health conditions also scored higher in trust than those with more health problems (35.2 vs. 33.1).

"We were somewhat surprised that trust was higher among , but lower among those with three or more chronic health conditions, since would be more common in older adults and would require greater interaction with physicians," responded lead author Ronny Bell, Ph.D., of the department of epidemiology and prevention.

People who followed the recommended and dilated eye exam guidelines reported more trust in their physicians compared to those who did not. Other demographic categories had no significant difference.

Overall, the average trust score was 34.6. Given that the maximum score was 55, it's probably indicative of there being some degree of distrust in this population, said Bell.

The authors were unsure why some groups had more trust in their physicians than the others, but concluded that efforts should be made to build trust in the patient–provider relationship to enhance all patient outcomes.

Robert A. Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, said a provider's communication style can make a big difference in establishing a trusting relationship.

"Specifically, the provider can be directive, telling the patient what to do without listening to them, or be a guide for the patient to help them achieve what is important in their lives," Gabbay explained. "Listening to the patient about what are potential barriers is critical for us as providers to help them problem solve."

Explore further: Obese patients trust diet advice from overweight physicians more than normal-weight physicians

More information: Bell RA, Arcury TA, et al. Correlates of physician trust among rural older adults with diabetes, Am J Health Behav., 2013.

Related Stories

Obese patients trust diet advice from overweight physicians more than normal-weight physicians

June 4, 2013
When it comes to taking diet advice from a physician—size matters. This is according to a new study led by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School ...

Trust in physician eases talks about medical expenses

July 24, 2013
Strong relationships with physicians, particularly those that are long standing, are likely to increase patients' openness to talk about health care costs when decisions are being made about their treatment options. According ...

Overweight physicians are also vulnerable to weight bias

March 20, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Overweight patients are not the only ones who suffer weight stigmatization in the doctor's office, a Yale study finds. Physicians who are overweight or obese are vulnerable to biased attitudes from patients ...

Californians with 'medical home' more likely to get flu shots, preventive treatment

May 29, 2013
Too many cooks may spoil a recipe, and too many doctors may give you the flu.

Primary care physicians play vital role in caring for diabetes patients

December 11, 2012
Previous research has shown that patients without a consistent primary care physician (PCP) have worse outcomes than those who do, but little is known about why this is true. New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Hispanics leery of health care providers, often avoid cancer screenings, study shows

January 9, 2013
When researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues conducted a random telephone survey among blacks, whites and Hispanics in New York, Baltimore and San Juan, Puerto Rico, they found that Hispanics are nearly twice ...

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.