Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects a significant portion of the United States population. Effective management requires adherence to a prescribed dietary regimen. Many diabetics have difficulty adhering to their recommended diet. This descriptive study explored diabetic diet adherence in older adults. The following research question guided the study: What are the factors that affect diabetic diet adherence in older adults? Sr. Callista Roy's adaptation theory provided direction for the study. Thirty two diabetic patients age 45 years and older in Louisiana comprised the sample. The sample included rural and urban patients of a home health agency and a primary care clinic. Data was collected utilizing a modified version of the Travis (1997) Diabetic Diet Questionnaire. Frequency distributions were used for data analysis. Factors that were predominately found to have a positive effect on dietary adherence included understanding the diabetic diet, motivation, and knowing which foods to buy. The factors that were reported to have a predominately negative effect on dietary adherence included the holidays and Southern cooking. Meal cost and emotions or feelings were reported to have a predominately neutral effect on dietary adherence. The findings of this study support the need for dietary teaching for diabetic clients. The Nurse Practitioner has a responsibility to explore factors in a client's internal and external environment which may play a role in dietary adherence when providing instruction to diabetic clients. Recommendations for further research should investigate the following: (a) a larger, more culturally diverse population, (b) qualitative research methods, (c) beliefs of nurse practitioners regarding factors affecting diabetic dietary adherence, and (d) adherence after individualized diabetic dietary teaching which explores factors found to effect adherence.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Melinda Rush

Second Advisor

Dr. Maripat Curtis

Third Advisor

Dr. Bonnie Lockard

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons