Exploring the Relationship Between Resilience and Diabetes Outcomes in African Americans

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Purpose: The purpose of this descriptive, correlational study is to describe the relationship between resilience scores and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in African-American women with type 2 diabetes. Data sources: Demographic data were collected from a voluntary sample of 71 African-American women who received care for type 2 diabetes at a federally qualified health center in southern Connecticut. The Wagnild and Young Resilience Scale was used to measure resilience scores in each participant. HbA1c levels were obtained at time of enrollment in the study. Conclusions: The majority of the women were resilient with over half the sample scoring in the high resilience range. Only nine participants had resilience scores that were considered low. Interestingly, HbA1c levels and resilience scores had a significant negative correlation, as individuals scored high on the resilience scale, HbA1c levels went down, suggesting that resilience may influence glycemic control in this sample. Implications for practice: Nurse practitioners (NPs) have an opportunity to consider resilience in the care of minority populations with a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes. High levels of resilience were significantly related to lower HbA1c levels indicating better glycemic control. Clinical implications based on the findings of this study included preventing complications of poorly controlled diabetes. NPs need to recognize holistic approaches to care that integrate not only the physiological aspects of care but also the psychological aspect of the person, including interventions to help build individual resilience.