Objective: To examine the longitudinal associations between sex, diabetes self-care, and the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of children and adolescents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Study design: The sample included 910 participants with type 1 and 241 participants with type 2, ages 10-22 years at baseline, from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, a longitudinal observational study. The primary outcome measure was the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Repeated measures, mixed-model regression analysis was conducted with the use of data from baseline and at least one follow-up assessment, spanning approximately 4 years.
Results: HRQL was greater among those with type 1 versus type 2 diabetes. Among participants with type 1, greater (better) Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory total scores over time were related to greater parent education (P = .0007), lower glycated hemoglobin values (P < .0001), and greater physical activity during the past 7 days (P = .0001). There was a significant interaction between sex and age (P < .0001); girls' HRQL remained stable or decreased over time, whereas males' HRQL increased. For participants with type 2 diabetes, there was no significant interaction by age and sex, but lower total HRQL was related to being female (P = .011) and greater body mass index z-scores (P = .014).
Conclusions: HRQL in this cohort varied by diabetes type. The interaction between sex and age for type 1 participants, coupled with poorer HRQL among female than male participants with type 2 diabetes, suggests the impacts of diabetes on HRQL differ by sex and should be considered in clinical management. Encouraging physical activity and weight control continue to be important in improving HRQL.
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