Successful adaptation to diabetes is probably a function of many factors: the stress involved, the rewards, the motivation of the individual, and the self concept. The more optimal the self concept the more optimal the behavior may be. By helping the patient shape a positive self concept, a base can be built for blood glucose control (Bruhn, 1977, pp. 93-97). One method of improving self concept or self esteem may be through the development of self-help support groups for diabetics.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of self-help support group intervention on the levels of self esteem and blood glucose in 18- to 35-year-old insulin-dependent diabetics. The correlation of self esteem and blood glucose was measured in a pre- and post-test method.

A review of related literature indicated that self-help groups have benefitted individuals who have diabetes, lupus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other conditions that require psychosocial adaptation and support. Little mention has been made of objective measurements of group effectiveness in improving participants' self esteem. Several studies have supported the relationship between psychosocial and physiological function in diabetics.

A pilot study was conducted to assess the receptivity of the Tennessee Self Concept Scale and Dextrometer® in measuring self esteem and blood glucose, respectively, Since there was a positive response to the tools, these measurements were used in a pre-test and post-test pattern in both study and control groups. Six weekly support group sessions were held for the eight study group members while the five control group members did not participate in group activities. Blood glucose measurements were taken throughout the six weeks to obtain an average of blood glucose control.

The study was based on several hypotheses that dealt with comparison of the two groups in the measurements of self esteem and blood glucose and the correlation of these two variables. The measurements of blood glucose and self esteem were similar between the study and control groups at the beginning of the study. At the conclusion of the study, both groups showed an improvement in levels of self esteem and blood glucose. This improvement was not significant (α = 0.05); thus the null hypotheses regarding change in blood glucose and self esteem were supported. The hypotheses that there would be no correlation (α = 0.05) between self esteem and blood glucose within or between groups were rejected since there was a strong correlation between low self esteem and high blood glucose in the control group members. Several recommendations for nursing practice and additional studies were made as a result of the findings of this study.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

L. Lucile Lewis

Second Advisor

Audrey L. Burgess

Third Advisor

Grenith J. Zimmerman

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Diabetes Mellitus; Self-Help Groups; Blood Glucose; Self Concept



Page Count

ix; 112

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives