type 2 diabetes, couples intervention, glycemic control


A pilot study was conducted to assess the feasibility and potential efficacy of a couples focused diabetes intervention in which a collaborative problem-solving approach to diabetes self-care was promoted. Couples (N = 44), in which one partner had Type 2 diabetes and was in poor blood glucose control were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a couples intervention, and individual intervention, or individual diabetes education. The intervention included goal-setting, dietary behavior change, and a focus on emotions. For those in the couples arm, this was done within the framework of promoting collaborative communication between the partners. All intervention contacts were over the telephone to increase reach. Results showed that both the individual and couples interventions yielded meaningful clinical improvements in medical outcomes. Diabetes education also resulted in improved blood glucose control. Despite the small number, mixed-model regression analyses found statistically significant treatment effects for total cholesterol. This pilot demonstrates the feasibility and potential efficacy of a telephone intervention for Type 2 diabetes patients and their partners. Information from implementing this pilot led to refinement and further development of the intervention, which is being assessed in a larger, more comprehensive trial.

Original Publication Citation

Trief, P.M., Sandberg, J.G., PhD, Ploutz-Snyder, R., Brittain, R., Cibula, D., Scales, K., Weinstock, R.S. (2011). Promoting couples collaboration in type 2 diabetes: The Diabetes Support Project pilot data. Families, Systems, and Health, 29(3), 253-261.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Families, Systems, & Health




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor