Aims: Poor social support and lack of social network are well-established risk factors for morbidity and mortality in general populations. Good social relations, such as social support and network contacts, are associated with better self-management and fewer psychosocial problems in persons with type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether persons with type 2 diabetes have poorer social relations than the general population. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in three settings: a specialist diabetes clinic (SDC) (n = 1084), a web panel (WP) consisting of persons with type 2 diabetes (n = 1491) and a sample from the 2010 Danish Health and Morbidity Survey, representative of the general population (n = 15,165). We compared social relations using multivariate logistic regression. Results: Compared to the general population, persons with type 2 diabetes more often lived without a partner (SDC, OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.49-2.06; WP, OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.43-1.87), met with family less than once a month (SDC, OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.40-2.27; WP, OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.94-2.84) and were less certain they could count on help from others in case of illness (WP, OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.08-1.41). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that persons with type 2 diabetes have poorer social relations than the general population. From a public health point of view, special attention is needed with regards to strengthening existing networks and establishing alternative networks among persons with type 2 diabetes.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. Supplement, 2013, Vol 41, Issue 4, p. 340-343