Psychosocial burden and glycemic control during the first 6 years of diabetes: results from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study

J Adolesc Health. 2014 Oct;55(4):498-504. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.03.011. Epub 2014 May 10.


Purpose: To evaluate the psychosocial burden of adolescents with diabetes, determine the trajectory of psychosocial burden, and examine the interdependent relationships between psychosocial burden and glycemic control across the first 6 years of diabetes.

Methods: Data from SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, an observational study of U.S. children diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 20, were collected during study visits conducted at baseline and then at 12, 24, and 60 months after baseline. Blood was drawn, clinical and demographic information was collected, and psychosocial burden was evaluated using standardized depression and generic and diabetes-specific health-related quality of life (QOL) surveys.

Results: Among the 1,307 adolescents (mean age, 14.1±2.5 years) with baseline data, 1,026 had type 1 diabetes and 281 had type 2 diabetes. For those with a 60-month follow-up visit, glycated hemoglobin (A1c) values rose 1.5% from baseline (type 1, 7.7%-9.3% and type 2, 7.3%-8.8%). Adolescents with type 2 diabetes reported more depression and poorer QOL than adolescents with type 1 diabetes. For each diabetes type, there were similar baseline risk factors for higher A1c values: longer diabetes duration, ethnic minority status, and declining diabetes QOL (p < .05). However, youth with type 2 diabetes had higher A1c values with increasing generic QOL, an unexpected finding. Younger adolescents with type 1 diabetes had higher A1c values at the end of the study.

Conclusions: Significant deterioration in glycemic control marks the first 6 years of diabetes for adolescents. Psychosocial burden, particularly poor diabetes-specific QOL, is a contributor to suboptimal glycemic outcomes.

Keywords: Adolescent; Depression; Glycemic control; Pediatric diabetes; Psychosocial burden; Quality of life; Type 1 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • Quality of Life*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A