Diabetes Distress Common at Large Midwestern University

Findings based on survey of university-affiliated students, staff with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- In a large university population, the prevalence of diabetes distress is high, and high diabetes distress levels are associated with lower diabetes quality of life (QOL) for both type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Elizabeth A. Beverly, Ph.D., from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, and colleagues assessed diabetes distress and other psychosocial factors using an anonymous electronic survey of 173 students, faculty, and staff at a large university in the Midwest (mean age, 35.1 years; 62.4 percent female).

The researchers found that 85 survey participants had T1DM, and 88 had T2DM. High diabetes distress was reported by 27.4 percent of those with T1DM and 30.7 percent with T2DM. Severe depression was seen in 16 participants with T1DM (18.8 percent) and 15 with T2DM (17 percent). There was an association between severe depression and high distress for both T1DM and T2DM. Compared with participants with T2DM, participants with T1DM reported more frequent self-care behaviors but lower diabetes QOL. There were no differences between the groups related to depressive symptoms, diabetes self-efficacy, or coping styles. There was an independent association between diabetes distress scores and lower diabetes QOL for both groups after controlling for depressive symptoms, age, and gender.

"Anyone with diabetes will experience diabetes distress at some point, and it is often triggered by major life events or upheaval," Beverly said in a statement. "Going to college certainly qualifies, so we should be able to anticipate that in students with diabetes and offer support."

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