Symptoms of emotional, behavioral, and social difficulties in the danish population of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes--results of a national survey

PLoS One. 2014 May 19;9(5):e97543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097543. eCollection 2014.


Objective: To assess the prevalence of psychological difficulties in Danish children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes using both child/adolescent and caregiver reports, and to investigate associations between these symptoms and metabolic control, adherence, and quality of life.

Research design and method: A total of 786 children and adolescents (8-17 years) recruited through the Danish Registry of Childhood Diabetes completed subscales of the Beck's Youth Inventories (BYI-Y), while 910 caregivers completed the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The participants also completed questionnaires assessing adherence and quality of life. BYI-Y and SDQ responses were compared with results from normative samples.

Results: Children with diabetes generally reported a lower level of symptoms of depression and anxiety, while older adolescents in most cases were comparable to the normative samples. However, the numbers of patients with elevated scores were similar to normative groups, especially regarding the proportion of participants with 'Extremely elevated' scores. Caregivers of children and adolescents with diabetes generally reported the prevalence of elevated scores on the SDQ to exceed the prevalence observed in the norm sample--particularly with regard to older boys. Both BYI-Y and SDQ responses were significantly correlated with HbA1c, adherence, and quality of life.

Conclusions: This study finds Danish children and adolescents with diabetes to report lower or comparable levels of emotional difficulties compared to norms, while caregiver reports are less positive. The results therefore support the value of a multi-informant approach to the assessment of symptoms of psychological difficulty in girls and boys with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

Novo Nordisk A/S supported the work ('Psychosocial aspects of diabetes - Grant number: 494887). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.