Psychosocial Factors and Glycemic Control in Young Adults With Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JAMA network open








IMPORTANCE: Youth-onset type 2 diabetes is associated with poor glycemic control and early onset of complications. Identification of psychosocial factors associated with poor glycemic control is needed to inform efficacious interventions. OBJECTIVE: To identify psychosocial factors associated with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: For the iCount cohort study, HbA1c levels were measured twice (at baseline [T1] and at 1 year [T2]) during the last years (2017-2019) of the observational phase of the multicenter Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY2) study. Participants were young adults who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during childhood or adolescence. Data were analyzed from December 2021 to September 2023. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Glycemic control was examined categorically (high [≥8.0%] vs low [<8.0%] HbA1c), continuously (HbA1c level), and over time (change in HbA1c: decreased ≥0.5%, remained stable, or increased ≥0.5%). Psychosocial measures included beliefs about medicines, depression and anxiety symptoms, diabetes distress, diabetes self-efficacy, self-management support, and unmet material needs. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models evaluated the association of each psychosocial factor with the probability of T2 HbA1c of 8.0% or greater, T2 HbA1c level, and change in HbA1c. RESULTS: Of the 411 TODAY2 participants approached, 381 enrolled in the iCount study, and 348 with T1 and T2 HbA1c data comprised the analysis group. The 348 participants had a mean (SD) age of 26.1 (2.5) years and a mean (SD) HbA1c of 9.4% (2.8%). Most participants (229 [65.8%]) were women. In adjusted multivariable regressions, greater beliefs that diabetes medicines are necessary (odds ratio [OR], 1.19 [95% CI, 1.03-1.37]; P = .02), concerns about medicines (OR, 1.20 [95% CI, 1.00-1.45]; P = .049), diabetes distress (OR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.02-1.15]; P = .006), and high distress (OR, 2.18 [95% CI, 1.15-4.13]; P = .02) increased the odds of high HbA1c at T2. Greater support (OR, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.46-0.97]; P = .04) and diabetes self-efficacy (OR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.84-0.99]; P = .02) decreased the odds of high HbA1c at T2. Diabetes distress was associated with higher HbA1c level at T2 (coefficient, 0.08 [95% CI, 0.02-0.13]; P = .01). Beliefs that diabetes medicines are necessary (OR, 1.20 [95% CI, 1.03-1.39]; P = .02) and concerns about medicines (OR, 1.22 [95% CI, 1.00-1.47]; P = .048) increased the odds of an HbA1c decrease of at least 0.5% over 1 year. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes, beliefs about medicines, high diabetes distress, low diabetes self-efficacy, and self-management support were associated with high HbA1c over time. Future research should assess whether interventions that address these factors result in improved glycemic control in this at-risk group.


Biostatistics and Bioinformatics