Objective: To determine the link between glycemic control and the strategies adopted by patients in coping with diabetes-related stress.
Material and methods: In a cross-sectional study of 122 type 1 diabetic patients, glycemic control was evaluated on the basis of the last mean annual HbA(1c) level, and a comparison was made of two groups of patients, i.e., those with "good control" (HbA(1c)<7.5%) and "poor control" (HbA(1c) > 8.5%). Sociodemographic were collected for all patients by the referring physician. The nature of the diabetes-related stress and the coping strategies adopted by patients were determined by analyzing validated self-assessment questionnaires.
Results: Comparison showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the patients' age, level of education, age at onset, duration of the diabetes, or the nature of diabetes-related stress factors. In contrast, the difference between the groups was significant in that patients in the "well controlled" group carried out more home blood glucose tests (p<0.02), had fewer complications (p<0.003), and made greater use of so-called "task oriented" strategies (p=0.023), regardless of the existence of any complications.
Conclusions: Even though the nature of the diabetes-related stress appears to be the same for the two groups, type 1 diabetic patients with good glycemic control manage their condition differently (more frequent home blood glucose tests) and use coping strategies that place greater emphasis on problem solving.