Partner expressed emotion and diabetes management among spouses living with type 2 diabetes


Introduction: Expressed emotion has been consistently shown to be a significant predictorof relapse and poor disease management across numerous physical and mental healthconditions, however very little research has been conducted on its relationship to themanagement practices of individuals living with Type 2 diabetes. This study examines therelationship between expressed emotion (EE) and diabetes management among coupleswhere 1 spouse has Type 2 diabetes.

Methods: The authors surveyed 106 couples where 1partner was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Partners without diabetes completed questionnairesabout their level of criticism, emotional involvement, and warmth toward theirpartners. Partners with diabetes completed questionnaires on diabetes control, diabetesmanagement practices and attitude toward their diabetes. Results: The authors found that,individuals living with diabetes who had partners with high EE reported significantly poorerdiabetes management in all areas (diet, physical activity, and attitude toward diabetes). Diabetes management was found to mediate the relationship between EE and diabetescontrol. Results suggest that partners with high EE may have a significant influence ondiabetes management practices in their partner.

Discussion: These findings highlight theimportant role couple interactions may play in diabetes management. Findings also emphasizethe potential benefit of conceptualizing diabetes management from a systems/relational perspective. In addition, greater consideration should be given to using familybasedapproaches for diabetes management and treatment among coupled individuals livingwith Type 2 diabetes.


School of Nursing

Document Type





Couples, Criticism, Diabetes, Expressed emotion, Warmth

Publication Date


Journal Title

Families, Systems and Health