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Title: Differential influences of social support on app use for diabetes self-management - a mixed methods approach
Authors: Brew-Sam, Nicola
Chib, Arul
Rossmann, Constanze
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Brew-Sam, N., Chib, A., & Rossmann, C. (2020). Differential influences of social support on app use for diabetes self-management - a mixed methods approach. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 20(1), 151-. doi:10.21203/
Project: M4081081 
Journal: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 
Abstract: Background: Recent studies increasingly examine social support for diabetes self-management delivered via mHealth. In contrast to previous studies examining social support as an outcome of technology use, or technology as a means for delivering social support, this paper argues that social support has an impact on the use of diabetes mHealth apps. Specifically, we postulate differences between the impact of healthcare professional versus non-professional (family/friends) support on mobile app use for diabetes self-management. Methods: This research employed a triangulation of methods including exploratory semi-structured face-to-face interviews (N = 21, Study 1) and an online survey (N = 65, Study 2) with adult type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Thematic analysis (Study 1) was used to explore the relevance of social support (by professionals versus non-professionals) for diabetes app use. Binary logistic regression (Study 2) was applied to compare healthcare decision-making, healthcare-patient communication, and the support by the personal patient network as predictors of diabetes app use, complemented by other predictors from self-management and technology adoption theory. Results: The interviews (Study 1) demonstrated that (technology-supported) shared decision-making and supportive communication by healthcare professionals depended on their medical specialty. The personal patient network was perceived as either facilitating or hindering the use of mHealth for self-management. Binary logistic regression (Study 2) showed that the physician specialty significantly predicted the use of diabetes apps, with supervision by diabetes specialists increasing the likelihood of app use (as opposed to general practitioners). Additionally, specialist care positively related to a higher chance of shared decision-making and better physician-patient communication. The support by the personal patient network predicted diabetes app use in the opposite direction, with less family/friend support increasing the likelihood of app use. Conclusion: The results emphasize the relevance of support by healthcare professionals and by the patient network for diabetes app use and disclose differences from the existing literature. In particular, the use of diabetes apps may increase in the absence of social support by family or friends (e.g., compensation for lack of support), and may decrease when such support is high (e.g., no perceived need to use technology).
ISSN: 1472-6947
DOI: 10.1186/s12911-020-01173-3
Schools: Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information 
Rights: © 2020 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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