The needs, concerns, and characteristics of younger Australian adults with Type 2 diabetes

Diabet Med. 2013 May;30(5):620-6. doi: 10.1111/dme.12078. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Aims: The mean age of onset of Type 2 diabetes mellitus is decreasing in Australia and internationally. We conducted an internet-based survey to improve our understanding of the emotional well-being and unmet needs of younger adults with Type 2 diabetes, and to inform service provision for this group.

Methods: A random sample of National Diabetes Services Scheme registrants (n = 1,417) with Type 2 diabetes, aged 18-39 years, living in the Australian state of Victoria received an invitation to complete the online survey. The study was also advertised state-wide. The survey included validated scales (PAID-5: diabetes-related distress; WHO-5: general emotional well-being) and study-specific items. A total of 149 eligible respondents participated.

Results: Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents reported severe-diabetes related distress; more than a quarter (27%) had impaired general emotional well-being. Most (82%) were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25); most (77%) had at least one other co-morbidity. Lack of motivation, feeling burned out, and being time-poor were identified as top barriers to self-management. More than half (59%) of respondents had not participated in structured diabetes education. Respondents perceived that younger adults with Type 2 diabetes had different health-care needs than their older counterparts (68%), and that most Type 2 diabetes information/services were aimed at older adults (62%). Of a range of potential new services, respondents indicated greatest interest in an online forum specifically for younger adults with Type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Younger adults with Type 2 diabetes have impaired emotional well-being and physical health. Population-based research is needed to confirm the current findings, to further inform service delivery and optimise outcomes for this group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Victoria / epidemiology