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Title:Coping with type 2 diabetes in the family context: a communal coping perspective
Author(s):Basinger, Erin D
Director of Research:Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Knobloch, Leanne K.; Huhman, Marian; Donovan, Erin
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
type 2 diabetes
communal coping
Abstract:Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition affecting more than 25 million adults in the United States (National Institutes of Health, 2011). The impact of diabetes is far reaching, influencing the lives of both the patient and his or her family. Accordingly, both people with type 2 diabetes and their family members cope with the illness in the context of their relationships with one another. In this dissertation, I explore the coping efforts of individuals with type 2 diabetes and their families using communal coping as a framework for the investigation (Afifi et al., 2006; Lyons et al., 1998). The communal coping model argues that people cope with stress in the context of their relationships and that coping responses are both cognitive and behavioral in nature. According to the model, communal coping exists along two continuous dimensions: (a) appraisal, which assesses whether people's cognitions are individual or shared, and (b) action, which pertains to whether people engage in sole or joint behavior to diminish the negative effects of their stress. Theoretically, the dimensions of communal coping cross to create four distinct types of coping: individual coping, parallelism, support-seeking, and communal coping. In this dissertation, I address two limitations of the communal coping model using two studies. First, the appraisal dimension of communal coping has not been explicated in extant research, so the in the first study, I interviewed 28 individuals with type 2 diabetes and their family members with a goal of conceptualizing what it means for people to appraise their stress as individual or shared. The results of the study revealed that appraisal consists of two elements: problem ownership and problem influence. Second, the typology proposed by communal coping theorists has not been systematically validated, so a second objective of this dissertation was to assess the typology quantitatively. The second study consisted of individuals with type 2 diabetes (N = 159) completing a survey assessing their family characteristics, their coping efforts, and their diabetes-related outcomes. Findings from the second study suggested that three distinct types of coping exist in these data, rather than the four proposed in the original communal coping typology. Results also indicated that generally, individuals fared better in terms of their self-care and their adherence when they coped alongside their family members. The conclusions from the two studies have theoretical implications for communal coping and practical implications for managing the type 2 diabetes.
Issue Date:2016-05-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Erin Basinger
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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