Relation of stressful life events to metabolic control among adolescents with diabetes: 5-year longitudinal study

Health Psychol. 2010 Mar;29(2):153-9. doi: 10.1037/a0018163.


Objective: To determine the relation of stressful life events to metabolic control.

Design: We interviewed adolescents with Type 1 diabetes (n = 132; average age at enrollment = 12 years) annually for 5 years.

Measures: Each year we administered measures of stressful life events, psychological distress, and self-care behavior. We downloaded data from blood glucose meters, and obtained measures of metabolic control (hemoglobin A1c) from medical records.

Results: Using longitudinal growth curve modeling, stressful life events predicted greater psychological distress, poorer self-care behavior, and worse metabolic control in both cross-sectional and longitudinal (lagged) analyses. Cross-sectionally, many of these relations were stronger among older than younger adolescents. Self-care behavior partly mediated this association.

Conclusion: Stressful life events are related to poor metabolic control-especially for older adolescents. A primary mechanism appears to be a lack of good self care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Individuality
  • Life Change Events*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Self Care / psychology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human