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Little research has investigated the process by which social support facilitates diabetes management. Therefore, this study examined the social support received by people with diabetes and its role in managing diabetes. Adults aged 21 to 65 years with type 2 diabetes (N = 44) participated in focus groups, which were conducted by a moderator and co-moderator, audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Common themes and notable quotes regarding the support received by participants were derived. Family members and healthcare providers were key members of participants' social network. Four dimensions of support were identified: appraisal support (appropriateness of food choices); informational support (identification of factors affecting glycemic control); instrumental support (assistance with meal preparation); and emotional support (the need for encouragement). Participants believed social support was a critical component of effective diabetes management.
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