Psychiatric disorder and sub-threshold psychological distress were more common in 113 young men and women with insulin-dependent diabetes living in a defined area than in comparable general population samples. Twelve per cent of men and 19% of women were classified by the PSE as psychiatric 'cases'. Forty per cent of women and 47% of men reported at least one major social problem; effects of diabetes on everyday activities were common. There were associations between medical and social variables. The clinical implications are discussed.