Demographic and Glycemic Factors Linked With Diabetes Distress in Teens With Type 1 Diabetes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of pediatric psychology




adolescents; diabetes; psychosocial functioning; racial/ethnic identity


OBJECTIVE: Diabetes distress (DD) is a negative emotional response related to the burdens of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and is linked with diabetes outcomes, such as hemoglobin A1c (A1c). Yet, less is known about how other glycemic indicators, average blood glucose and time in range, relate to DD, and which demographic characteristics are associated with higher DD. METHODS: In total, 369 teens (Mage 15.6 ± 1.4, 51% female, MT1D duration 6.7 ± 3.8 years) screened for DD using The Problem Areas in Diabetes-Teen Version to determine eligibility for an ongoing multi-site behavioral trial. The associations of DD, demographic factors, and glycemic indicators (A1c, average blood glucose, and time in range) were analyzed. RESULTS: Twenty-nine percent of teens (n = 95) scored above the clinical cutoff (≥44) for DD. Females scored significantly higher on average than males. Black/African American, non-Hispanic youth screened significantly higher compared to youth from other racial/ethnic groups. Higher DD scores were related to higher A1c and average blood glucose, and lower time in range. Logistic regression models revealed that females were significantly more likely to report clinically elevated DD than males, and teens with higher A1c were 1.3 times more likely to report DD. Age and diabetes duration were not significantly associated with clinically elevated DD scores. CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrated that DD is most prevalent in Black, non-Hispanic and female teens, and DD is associated with higher average blood glucose and lower time in range. Further investigation into these disparities is warranted to promote optimal health outcomes for teens with T1D.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences