Beverly EA, Rennie RG, Guseman EH, Rodgers A, Healy AM. High Prevalence of Diabetes Distress in a University Population. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2019;119(9):556–568. doi: https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.099.
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Diabetes distress is an affective condition that addresses an individual's frustrations, worries, and concerns about living with diabetes. It is associated with fewer self-care behaviors, suboptimal glycemic control, and lower quality of life (QOL). For these reasons, diabetes care guidelines recommend routine assessment of diabetes distress.
To assess diabetes distress in a university population.
This study was conducted using a descriptive, cross-sectional design. Researchers assessed diabetes distress and other psychosocial factors via an electronic anonymous survey among students, faculty, and staff at a large university in the Midwest.
A total of 173 participants completed the survey (mean [SD] age, 35.1 [16.7] years), with 108 [62.4%] female and 142 [82.1%] white participants). Eighty-five participants had type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), and 88 had type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Of the 85 T1DM participants, 23 (27.4%) reported high diabetes distress, and 27 (30.7%) T2DM participants reported high diabetes distress. Sixteen T1DM (18.8%) and 15 T2DM (17.0%) participants screened positive for severe depression. Severe depression was associated with high distress for both T1DM and T2DM participants (T1DM: χ2=28.845, P<.001; T2DM: χ2=20.679, P<.001). Participants with T1DM reported more frequent self-care behaviors (mean [SD], 62.3 [17.1] vs 52.2 [19.2]; P<.001), but lower diabetes QOL (63.3 [14.1] vs 68.5 [15.5]; P=.021) compared with T2DM participants. No differences were observed in depressive symptoms, diabetes self-efficacy, and coping styles. Linear regression models showed that high diabetes distress scores (standardized β=.323, P=.025; standardized β=.604, P<.001) were independently associated with higher hemoglobin A1C levels and lower diabetes QOL after controlling for depressive symptoms, age, and gender in T1DM participants. Similarly, high diabetes distress scores (standardized β=.434, P<.001) were associated with lower diabetes QOL in T2DM participants after controlling for the same variables.
High diabetes distress levels were associated with lower diabetes QOL for both T1DM and T2DM participants. These findings suggest that attending or working at a university may be associated with high diabetes distress scores and lower diabetes QOL. Additional research with a larger, more diverse sample from multiple universities is needed to confirm these findings.
a Data are presented as No.(%) unless otherwise indicated.
b Values were missing for health insurance for 2 participants.
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