Stigma in People With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Clin Diabetes. 2017 Jan;35(1):27-34. doi: 10.2337/cd16-0020.


IN BRIEF This study quantitatively measures diabetes stigma and its associated psychosocial impact in a large population of U.S. patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes using an online survey sent to 12,000 people with diabetes. A majority of respondents with type 1 (76%) or type 2 (52%) diabetes reported that diabetes comes with stigma. Perceptions of stigma were significantly higher among respondents with type 1 diabetes than among those with type 2 diabetes, with the highest rate in parents of children with type 1 diabetes (83%) and the lowest rate in people with type 2 diabetes who did not use insulin (49%). Our results suggest that a disturbingly high percentage of people with diabetes experience stigma, particularly those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who are on intensive insulin therapy. The experience of stigma disproportionately affects those with a higher BMI, higher A1C, and poorer self-reported blood glucose control, suggesting that those who need the most help are also the most affected by stigma.