Endocr Pract. 2016 Sep;22(9):1104-10. doi: 10.4158/EP151190.OR. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


Objective: Screening for depression, diabetes distress, and disordered eating in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is recommended, as these comorbidities contribute to poor glycemic control. No consensus exists on which measures are optimal, and most previous studies have used nondisease-specific measures. We examined the utility of screening for these disorders using two disease-specific and one general measure at the time of transition from pediatric to adult care.

Methods: Forty-three young adults from a T1D transition clinic completed the Patient Health Questionnaire, the Diabetes Distress Scale, and the Diabetes Eating Problem Survey-Revised. Chart review determined if clinicians noted similar symptoms during the year prior to transition. Metabolic data were also recorded.

Results: Chart review identified 5 patients with depressive symptoms and 8 patients with diabetes distress. Screening identified 2 additional patients with depressive symptoms and 1 additional patient with diabetes distress. Of those noted to have symptomatic depression or diabetes distress on chart review, several subsequently screened negative on transition. Disordered eating was not detected by chart review, but 23.5% screened positive on transition. While depression, diabetes distress, and disordered eating positively correlated with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (r = 0.31, P = .05; r = 0.40, P = .009; r = 0.63, P<.001, respectively), disordered eating accounted for the majority of observed variance (df = 1; F = 18.6; P<.001). Even though HbA1c was higher in patients with versus without disordered eating (P<.001), body mass index did not differ between the 2 groups (P = .51).

Conclusion: In young adults with T1D, formal screening provides an opportunity to detect psychological problems, which, when treated, may help optimize metabolic control during the transition process.

Abbreviations: T1D = type 1 diabetes HbA1C = hemoglobin A1c YCDP = Yale Children's Diabetes Program PHQ-8 = Patient Health Questionnaire-8 DDS = Diabetes Distress Scale DEPS-R = Diabetes Eating Problem Survey-Revised.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transition to Adult Care*
  • Young Adult