Physician-Patient Relationships and Their Effect on T2DM Patient Treatment Adherence

Cindy Schmidt, Walden University


Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a health epidemic that continues to worsen. A major concern is that treatment adherence rates hover around 50%, despite the introduction of new medications, treatments, and technology. Lack of adherence by patients can lead to complications like blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. While there have been many studies conducted to evaluate patient factors related to adherence, fewer studies have been conducted to evaluate the role of the physician-patient relationship. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between the physician-patient relationship and patient treatment adherence, and examine the moderators of age, education, ethnicity, and income. Gender was included as a moderator in a secondary analysis. Two theories formed the theoretical framework of this study: biopsychosocial model and self-efficacy theory. This quantitative nonexperimental study was completed with survey data collected from 92 participants in the United States ages 18 or older who were under treatment for T2DM for at least a year, and who had seen their physician at least once in the previous year. Correlational and regression analyses were conducted using data from the modified Clinician and Group Survey and the Diabetes Management Self-Questionnaire. The physician-patient relationship predicted treatment adherence, and gender moderated the relationship. These findings suggest the importance of the physician-patient relationship as a factor in patient treatment adherence. This has important implications for social change because an understanding of which physician factors lead to treatment adherence may help improve patient outcomes, reduce T2DM complications, improve patient quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs.