Adolescents with type 1 diabetes and risky behaviour

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Aug;99(8):1237-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01813.x. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


Aim: The aim of the student is to assess whether adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in Italy differ from their healthy peers in regard to risky behaviour.

Methods: Data were collected from 215 patients, aged 14 +/- 2 years with a mean disease duration of 7 +/- 5 years. The control group was comprised of 464 healthy adolescents recruited among high school students. Each patient completed an anonymous confidential questionnaire to determine the prevalence of sexual behaviour, alcohol and tobacco consumption, illicit drug use, and, among patients with diabetes and frequency of mismanagement related to diabetes care.

Results: Compared with controls, subjects with diabetes showed a similar rate of sexual intercourse among males and lower rates among females (34.8% vs 35.5%, p NS and 29.4% vs 41.4%, p < 0.05, respectively). Males in the diabetes group reported a higher rate of tobacco use, whereas females showed similar or higher rates of use for every illicit drug studied. Among patients with diabetes, those who are engaged in risky behaviour showed a higher rate of treatment mismanagement (76% vs 34%, p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Adolescents with T1DM are as likely as their healthy peers to engage in risky behaviour, indicating the potential benefit of anticipatory guidance concerning glycaemic control and increased risk of acute and chronic complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires