Doctoral student awarded NIH National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship
Emily Soriano, now a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Science program, was awarded a NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship – a highly competitive training grant – by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). This NRSA will fund Emily's tuition, training, and dissertation research for the next two years. After spending the last several years studying how couples cope with and manage the stress of breast cancer, Emily is moving into a new research area for her dissertation – type 2 diabetes. Specifically, she is interested in developing a deeper understanding of the ways in which romantic partners can influence diabetic patients' self-care (or self-management). Behaviors like diet, exercise, and medication adherence – critical to managing type 2 diabetes – often occur in a social context and are influenced by romantic partners. In fact, it is not uncommon for partners to try to influence patients' health-related behavior – for example, by encouraging, praising, nagging, or criticizing. Past research has shown this type of spouse influence to both helpful and unhelpful for increasing patient health behavior. Currently, little is known about the conditions under which spouse's involvement in diabetes self-management is helpful versus harmful. Emily argued that this significant gap in knowledge holds back progress in improving type 2 diabetes self-management interventions – a critical, standard component of treatment. The NIDDK appears to agree. Emily's funded dissertation research aims to fill this gap by examining the relationship between spouse involvement, diabetes distress, relationship quality, and moment-to-moment glucose fluctuations.