Stress Buffering and Glycemic Control: The Role of Coping Styles
Objective To test the hypotheses that chronic psychosocial stress is associated with worse glycemic control and that coping moderates (buffers) this effect.
Research Design and Methods Subjects consisted of 105 insulin-treated adults from the Diabetes Division of Henry Ford Hospital who filled out questionnaires on stress and coping and received an HbA1 test at a clinic appointment. Six coping styles were examined, including both emotion- and problem-focused styles. Two standardized stress inventories were administered. Ineffective coping was defined as scoring below the median for stress-dampening coping styles and above the median for stress-exacerbating styles.
Results Stress was significantly (P < 0.05) correlated with higher HbA1 in all but one ineffective coping subgroup. Conversely, none of 12 correlations between stress and glycemic control was significant in the effective coping subgroups.
Conclusions Chronic psychosocial stress is associated with worse glycemic control among those who do not cope effectively with stress. Effective coping can protect individuals from the deleterious effects of stress.
- Received July 18, 1991.
- Revision received January 24, 1992.
- Accepted January 24, 1992.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Diabetes Association