Background: Health literacy (HL) is one of the factors influencing the use of health-related information by patients with diabetes. As a social support resource, peers can help improve diabetes knowledge in these patients. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of peer support on HL in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) with low support resources.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial was conducted on 80 patients with T2D referring to a diabetes clinic in Aligoudarz. Patients meeting the inclusion criteria were selected by the random sampling method and randomly assigned to two groups of intervention and control each containing 40 cases. The data were collected using the Test of Functional Health literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) at the beginning of the study and after 3 months of educational peer support intervention. Eventually, data were analyzed by the statistical tests of chi-square, Fisher’s exact test, t test, and paired t test.
Results: The results showed that there was no significant difference in the mean (±SD) HL between the two groups before the intervention (53.12±13.86 vs. 56.62±10.34, P=0.204). However, the mean HL in the intervention group represented a significant improvement after 3 months of peer intervention compared to the control group (70.27±9.78 vs. 56.87±10.07, P<0.001).
Conclusion: Overall, peer support was found to be effective in improving the HL of diabetic patients with limited access to support resources. Therefore, it is recommended to use the capacity of peers as a social support resource in diabetes care programs.