Aims: To describe psychiatric status and relationship to metabolic control in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes studied prospectively from diagnosis.
Methods: Adolescents (n = 41) completed a self-report measure of psychiatric status 10 years after disease onset. Metabolic control information was recorded prospectively from diagnosis. The rate and type of psychiatric disorder were determined and the relationship between mental health status and metabolic control history examined.
Results: Thirty-seven per cent of the adolescents met criteria for a DSM-IV psychiatric disorder, two to three times higher than community levels of psychiatric morbidity. Females were significantly more likely to receive a diagnoses (chi2 = 4.98, P < 0.05). Two thirds of participants had experienced at least one serious hypoglycaemic episode and one third had a history of chronic poor metabolic control. DSM-IV diagnoses were present in half of those with a history of chronic poor control, one third of the hypoglycaemia group and one quarter of well controlled participants. Adolescents with a current Mood (t = -2.83, P < 0. 01), Anxiety (t = -3.77, P = 0.001) or Behaviour (t = 2.56, P < 0.05) disorder and those with a history of poorly controlled diabetes (F (2,29) = 5.4, P = 0.01) had higher externalizing behaviour problem scores at diagnosis than those without current disorder.
Conclusions: Adolescents with Type 1 diabetes are at high risk for psychiatric disorder. Poorly controlled diabetes over the first 10 years of illness was associated with pre-existing behaviour problems at diagnosis and there was a trend for an association with current psychiatric status.