Aims: To examine prospectively the relationships between psychosocial variables and diabetes-related outcomes in adults with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes.
Methods: A total of 84 adults (48 male) with a median (range) age of 30.8 (17-51) years with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes were recruited for the study. Shortly after initial diagnosis each participant's personality, cognitive ability, and recent psychiatric distress were assessed. At 4 months (n = 69) and at 12 months (n = 66) after diagnosis diabetes-related outcomes were measured, including each respondent's knowledge of diabetes, satisfaction with diabetes treatment and diabetes-related quality of life. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) was recorded at each clinic attendance.
Results: Social class (Spearman's correlation r = -0.30 and -0.28, respectively, P < 0.05) and scores on the National Adult Reading Test (r = 0.38 and 0.36, respectively, P < 0.01) were consistently associated with knowledge of diabetes at 4 months and at 12 months after diagnosis. Hierarchical regression revealed that alcohol consumption recorded at diagnosis and knowledge of diabetes at 4 months were independent predictors of glycaemic control at 12 months (adjusted r2 = 0.16). Total scores on the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (DTSQ) at 12 months were significantly predicted by age at diagnosis (adjusted r2 = 0.08). High neuroticism at diagnosis was consistently associated with poorer self-reported diabetes quality of life at 4 months and at 12 months after diagnosis (rs between -0.30 and -0.39, P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Long-standing psychosocial factors have a significant influence on self-reported outcomes during the 12 months following diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes but may not be reliable predictors of glycaemic control. Further follow-up is necessary to determine the longer-term predictors of objective (e.g. glycaemic control) and subjective (e.g. quality of life) indicators of coping in people with diabetes.