Date of Award:

8-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

W. David Robinson

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Josh Novak

Third Advisor:

Tim Curran

Abstract

A current body of research is finding significant connection between biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors in health and wellbeing. Some studies have found significant improvements in treatment outcomes for patients who received medical treatment in collaboration with psychosocial therapeutic treatment. In this study, I sought to observe the impact collaborative treatment had on patients with diabetes who were treated at a community health center. I compared the treatment outcomes of a group of patients who received a collaborative treatment, looking to see if their overall health (measured by A1c, a diabetes severity marker) and medical utilization (or their number of doctors’ visits).

I found no significant difference in the improvements in health outcomes (A1c) made by my treatment group who received collaborative treatment in addition to standard medical treatment for diabetes management when compared to my control group who received only medical treatment. I did find that collaborative treatment was associated with increases in medical utilization as were increases in age and initial A1c levels. Clinical implications include the need for therapists to be aware of how biological factors, such as age and severity of symptoms, may affect psychosocial-spiritual factors commonly addressed in therapy when working with patients who have chronic illnesses like diabetes. I hope that these findings will lead future research into the association of collaboration and medical utilization in order to find if there are any clinical benefits to recommending increased utilization for patients who are older or begin treatment with higher A1c levels.

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