Association of psychosocial factors with medication adherence in emerging adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes: The iCount study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric diabetes




medication adherence; psychology; social determinants of health; type 2 diabetes; young adults


AIMS: To assess associations of psychosocial factors with medication adherence in young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes in the Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY2) cohort. METHODS: Participants (mean age 26 years) completed validated psychosocial measures. Adherence to oral hypoglycemia agents (OHAs) was assessed with 3-monthly unannounced phone pill counts; insulin adherence by self-report. Logistic and linear regressions identified factors associated with "low-adherence" (<80% of pills/insulin) controlling for confounders. RESULTS: Of 212 participants taking OHAs (67% female, 39% Hispanic, 36% non-Hispanic Black), 69.8% were low-adherent. After adjustment, beliefs that medicines are necessary was associated with lower odds of low-adherence (p = 0.040, dichotomous). Less self-management support (p = 0.008), no healthcare coverage (p = 0.001), ≥1 (p = 0.008)/≥2 (p = 0.045) need insecurities were associated with higher odds of low-adherence. Factors associated with lower % adherence (continuous) were beliefs that medicines are harmful (p < 0.001)/overused (p = 0.007)/less necessary (p = 0.022), low self-management support (p = 0.003), food insecurity (p = 0.036), no healthcare coverage (p < 0.001), ≥1 (p = 0.003)/≥2 (p = 0.018) need insecurities. Of 192 taking insulin (69% female, 36% Hispanic, 41% non-Hispanic Black, 16% non-Hispanic white), 37.0% were low-adherent. Beliefs that medicines are overused (p = 0.009), that diabetes is not serious (p = 0.010), low diabetes self-efficacy (p = 0.035), high distress (p = 0.027), low self-management support (p = 0.001), food insecurity (p = 0.020), ≥1 (p = 0.011)/≥2 (p = 0.015) insecurities increased odds of insulin low-adherence. CONCLUSIONS: Poor medication adherence, common in young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes, is associated with interfering beliefs, diabetes distress and social factors. We must address these factors to develop tailored interventions for this vulnerable group.


Biostatistics and Bioinformatics