Diabetes Distress Among Persons With Type 1 Diabetes: Associations With Disordered Eating, Depression, and Other Psychological Health Concerns

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to evaluate associations between diabetes distress and a range of psychological health behaviors and concerns among persons with type 1 diabetes for the benefit of enhancing early identification and intervention of at-risk individuals.

Methods

Persons with type 1 diabetes (n = 268; 57.1% female, 91.0% white, 76.8% <18 years of age, average A1C 8.4%) completed the 2-item Diabetes Distress Screening Scale (DDS2) and a battery of psychometrically sound instruments measuring satisfaction with life, self-esteem, self-efficacy, depression, perfectionism, body image satisfaction, dietary restraint and eating, and shape and weight concerns. Each subscale score was compared within age groups (<18 years vs ≥18 years) between groups (diabetes distress level [low, moderate, high]) using analysis of variance (with Bonferroni correction or the Kruskal-Wallis test if the variables were not normally distributed).

Results

For both age groups, high diabetes distress was independently associated with greater A1C values, higher depression scores and eating, and shape and weight concerns than those with low or moderate distress. For patients <18 years of age, those with high diabetes distress scored lower on measures of satisfaction with life, self-esteem, and self-efficacy and higher on dietary restraint and several areas of perfectionism than those with low or moderate distress.

Conclusions

Individuals with type 1 diabetes who have high diabetes distress also report higher A1C values and poorer psychological health concerns. A brief diabetes distress questionnaire can help to identify those who need additional screening, education and support, and treatment for overall health and well-being.

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