WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Older patients with diabetes and their spouses may experience stress, frustration and sadness due to the demands of the disease, U.S. researchers say.
Melissa M. Franks of Purdue University and her team found that the distress spouses of diabetics feel is similar to what patients feel, and this could contribute to their own depressive symptoms such as irritability or sadness.
These depressive symptoms come from their own anxieties about living with the disease or caring for someone with the disease and not necessarily because the other person is struggling, Franks says.
"We know spouses often support their partners, but in our work we want to know what form their involvement takes and how the disease and its management affect both the patient and spouse," Franks says in a statement.
The study also found when male patients were concerned about the management of their diabetes, their depressive symptoms were elevated more than those for female patients with similar levels of concerns.
"This gender difference is consistent with prior work showing that male patients who are not managing their disease well tend to experience greater depressive symptoms," Franks said.
The findings, published in the Family Relations journal, are based on statistical models with 185 couples older than age 50 -- 67 female patients and 118 male patients.