(HealthDay News) – Issues related to the impact of type 1 diabetes affect adults and can cause interpersonal challenges in partner relationships, according to a qualitative study published online March 8 in Diabetes Care.

Paula M. Trief, PhD, from the State University of New York in Syracuse, and colleagues conducted four focus groups: two with 16 adults with type 1 diabetes and two with 14 partners. The questions posed focused on the emotional and interpersonal challenges of type 1 diabetes and the impact of type 1 diabetes on relationships. Constant comparative methods were used to analyze the recorded sessions and to identify core domains and concepts.

The researchers identified four main domains: the impact of diabetes on the relationship, including partner involvement, emotional impact, and child-rearing concerns; understanding the impact of hypoglycemia; stress relating to potential complications; and the benefits of technology. Partner involvement varied greatly, and support was highly valued. Relationship stress was affected by considerable anxiety about hypoglycemia and future complications and sources of conflict. The positive influence of technology was reported by patients and partners.

“We believe that adults with type 1 diabetes deserve increased attention by researchers to better understand their emotions, coping mechanisms, and psychosocial outcomes, and the relationship of these factors to adherence and glycemic control,” the authors write. “Also, their partners, and the effect that living with type 1 diabetes has on them and their relationships, should be assessed.”

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