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STRESS Project investigates relationship between stressors and diabetes

STRESS Project investigates relationship between stressors and diabetes
December 3, 2020 SEHD Communications

STRESS Project investigates relationship between stressors and diabetes

By Dell Billings

Understanding the relationship between stress and support is proving to be key in treatment of health issues, such as diabetes.

To study this connection, Department of Health and Kinesiology professor Dr. Idethia Shevon Harvey was awarded a $375,000 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant builds on Harvey’s recent research on social support in relation to disease in African Americans. In 2016, Harvey received a PESCA grant from Texas A&M University, to research those issues.

“It was the perfect timing to investigate the barriers and facilitators to disease management within the rural context,” Harvey said.

Harvey found that rural residents who reported higher stress events reported poorer type-2 diabetes self-management behaviors.

“During interviews, I learned that the residents dealt with multiple stressors (e.g., relationship, economic, community) that was not part of the original research questions,” Harvey said.

Those findings provided a natural next step in exploring questions regarding the relationship between stress and disease management. Harvey’s STRESS Project will investigate the relationship between stress and disease management among rural low-income and minority Texans.

The STRESS’s findings will explain how rural low-income African Americans with type-2 diabetes manage their conditions under continuous exposure to economic, psychosocial and physical stressors.

“I hope this research will inform the development of a culturally and geographically appropriate program to address chronic stress among rural low-income minority population groups diagnosed with chronic conditions,” Harvey said. “This study can result in a sustainable self-management behavioral program that addresses not only type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease).”

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