There is a paucity of evidence supporting the effectiveness of diabetes self-management education (DSME) in improving mental health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for African American and Latinos. Also, among studies supporting the favorable effects of DSME on mental HRQoL, the direct effect of DSME that is independent of improved glycemic control has never been investigated. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of community-based DSME intervention targeting empowerment on mental HRQoL and to determine whether the effect is direct or mediated by glycemic control.
We conducted secondary analyses of data from the Diabetes Self-Care Study, a randomized controlled trial of a community-based DSME intervention. Study participants (n = 516) were African Americans and Latinos 55 years or older with poorly controlled diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 8.0%) recruited from senior centers and churches in Los Angeles. The intervention group received six weekly small-group self-care sessions based on the empowerment model. The control group received six lectures on unrelated geriatrics topics. The primary outcome variable in this secondary analysis was the change in Mental Component Summary score (MCS-12) from the SF-12 Health Survey between baseline and six-month follow-up. We used the change in HbA1c during the study period as the main mediator of interest in our causal mediation analysis. Additionally, possible mediations via social support and perceived empowerment attributable to the program were examined.
MCS-12 increased by 1.4 points on average in the intervention group and decreased by 0.2 points in the control group (difference-in-change: 1.6 points, 95% CI: 0.1 to 3.2). In the causal mediation analysis, the intervention had a direct effect on MCS-12 improvement (1.7 points, 95% CI: 0.2 to 3.2) with no indirect effects mediated via HbA1c change (−0.1 points, 95% CI: −0.4 to 0.1), social support (0.1 points), and perception of empowerment (0.1 points).
This Diabetes Self-Care Study empowerment intervention had a modest positive impact on mental HRQoL not mediated by the improvement in glycemic control, as well as social support and perception of empowerment. This favorable effect on mental HRQoL may be a separate clinical advantage of this DSME intervention.