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(January 10, 2002, Gazette)

Diabetes research


Photo by Pamela Gill

(L-R) Marilyn White, Elaine Lundrigan, Annette Denny and Elizabeth Spracklin, faculty at the Western Regional School of Nursing, received a total of $3,000 in funding from the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador for research projects.

Breastfeeding and Type II diabetes will be the topics of two research projects being carried out by Western Regional School of Nursing faculty, thanks to research grants from the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The first project, which focuses on the self-management of Type II diabetes in adults, will be carried out by Elaine Lundrigan, Betty Spracklin and Annette Denny. Newfoundland has the highest diabetes mortality rate and one of the highest diabetes-related hospitalization rates in Canada. Although self-management is recognized as the cornerstone of diabetes care, there is no consensus as to the factors that best predict effective self-management practices. The study will investigate self-management in a sample of adults registered with diabetes education centres in the western region of the province. Consideration will also be given to the relationships among sociodemographic variables, personal illness models and barriers to self-management of diabetes.

The second project, to be carried out by Marilyn White, will examine the effect of maternal breastfeeding confidence and problem-solving skills on breastfeeding satisfaction and duration. Despite recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada that infants should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, Newfoundland has the lowest breastfeeding initiation rate in Canada, and very high attrition rate.

Research shows that the benefits of breastfeeding are greatly reduced if breastfeeding is discontinued prematurely and may lead to increased infant morbidity and subsequent increased health care costs. Research continuously shows that the major reasons for the early discontinuation of breastfeeding relates to mothers’ actual or perceived problems with the process. Ms. White hopes that findings from the study will help health care professionals develop breastfeeding education programs and supportive services that will enhance mothers’ breastfeeding confidence and problem-solving skills, leading to a more satisfying breastfeeding experience and increased duration of breastfeeding.

Both projects were awarded $1,500 from ARNNL’s Research and Trust Fund.