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Investing time in health: do socioeconomically disadvantaged patients spend more or less extra time on diabetes self-care?

By Susan L. Ettner, Betsy L. Cadwell, Louise B. Russell, Arleen Brown, Andrew J. Karter, Monika Safford, Carol Mangione, Gloria Beckles, William H. Herman and Theodore J. Thompson

Abstract

Background: Research on self-care for chronic disease has not examined time requirements. Translating Research into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD), a multi-site study of managed care patients with diabetes, is among the first to assess self-care time. Objective: To examine associations between socioeconomic position and extra time patients spend on foot care, shopping|cooking, and exercise due to diabetes. Data: Eleven thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven patient surveys from 2000 to 2001. Methods: Bayesian two-part models were used to estimate associations of self-reported extra time spent on self-care with race|ethnicity, education, and income, controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Proportions of patients spending no extra time on foot care, shopping|cooking, and exercise were, respectively, 37, 52, and 31%. Extra time spent on foot care and shopping|cooking was greater among racial|ethnic minorities, less-educated and lower-income patients. For example, African-Americans were about 10 percentage points more likely to report spending extra time on foot care than whites and extra time spent was about 3 min more per day. Discussion: Extra time spent on self-care was greater for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients than for advantaged patients, perhaps because their perceived opportunity cost of time is lower or they cannot afford substitutes. Our findings suggest that poorly controlled diabetes risk factors among disadvantaged populations may not be attributable to self-care practices. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI identifier: 10.1002/hec.1394
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