Dr. Sacco joined the Psychology Department faculty at the University of South Florida in 1979 after receiving his Ph.D. from Florida State University.
I am primarily interested in clinical health psychology, especially the link between depression and health. Recent studies in our lab have examined depression and diabetes, and psychosocial aspects of diabetes and obesity. We recently completed a randomized clinical trial that examined the effect of a brief, telephone intervention on diabetes adherence.
Research on psychosocial aspects of diabetes
I have recently begun investigating factors related to adherence to the diabetes regimen. Some current projects are described below. Although these studies are directed at diabetes, the research questions and results are applicable to other health problems.
- Can regular, brief telephone contact by paraprofessionals increase adherence among diabetic patients? Successful treatment of diabetes requires cost-effective psychosocial interventions that promote and maintain adherence. Proactive telephone delivered interventions represent one potentially useful method, and paraprofessionals offer a less costly alternative to nurses. Promising results may have implications for the application of this intervention method to other health problems.
- Evidence suggests that some mental disorders (e.g., depression) are more prevalent among diabetic patients than in nondiabetic patients. We will be investigating the extent to which the number of psychological symptoms or the specific types of psychological symptoms better account for variation in diabetes symptoms, adherence, glycemic control, and other measures of health status.
- Likewise, in a separate study, we will examine whether depression at baseline predicts poorer response to an intervention designed to improve glycemic control. Dabetes self-efficacy and social support will also be measured to explore their possible link between depression and adherence.
- Ultimately, we plan to investigate if screening and referral for symptoms of psychological disorders increases the utilization of mental health services among diabetic patients, and if so, whether increased utilization leads to improved adherence and metabolic control. We will then study the determinants of mental health services utilization among diabetic patients and ways to increase utilization.
Yanover, T. & Sacco, W.P. (2008). Reliability of diabetes-specific social support scales. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 13, 627-631.
Vaughan, C.A. Sacco, W.P., & Beckstead, J.W. (2008). Racial/ethnic differences in body mass Index: The roles of beliefs about thinness and dietary restriction. Body Image: An International Journal of Research, 5, 291-298.
Yanover, T. & Sacco, W.P. (2008). Eating beyond satiety and body mass index. Eating and Weight Disorders, 13, 119-128.
Sacco, W.P., Malone, J.I., Morrison, A. D., Friedman, A.L., & Wells, K.J. (2009). Effect of a brief, regular telephone intervention by paraprofessionals for Type 2 diabetes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32, 349 - 359.
Sacco, W.P. & Bykowski, C.A. (2010). Depression and hemoglobin A1c in type 1 and type 2 Diabetes: The role of self-efficacy. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 90, 141- 146.
Sacco, W.P., Bykowski, C. A., Mayhew, L., & White, K. E. (2012). Educational Attainment Moderates the effect of a brief diabetes intervention. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 95, 62-67.
Sacco, W.P., Bykowski, C.A. & Mayhew, L.L. (2013). Pain and functional impairment as mediators of the link between medical symptoms and depression in type 2 diabetes. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20 (1) 22-29.