Aims: To systematically review the evidence of socioeconomic inequalities for adults with type 1 diabetes in relation to mortality, morbidity and diabetes management.
Methods: We carried out a systematic search across six relevant databases and included all studies reporting associations between socioeconomic indicators and mortality, morbidity, or diabetes management for adults with type 1 diabetes. Data extraction and quality assessment was undertaken for all included studies. A narrative synthesis was conducted.
Results: A total of 33 studies were identified. Twelve cohort, 19 cross sectional and 2 case control studies met the inclusion criteria. Regardless of healthcare system, low socioeconomic status was associated with poorer outcomes. Following adjustments for other risk factors, socioeconomic status was a statistically significant independent predictor of mortality in 9/10 studies and morbidity in 8/10 studies for adults with type 1 diabetes. There appeared to be an association between low socioeconomic status and some aspects of diabetes management. Although only 3 of 16 studies made adjustments for confounders and other risk factors, poor diabetes management was associated with lower socioeconomic status in 3/3 of these studies.
Conclusions: Low socioeconomic status is associated with higher levels of mortality and morbidity for adults with type 1 diabetes even amongst those with access to a universal healthcare system. The association between low socioeconomic status and diabetes management requires further research given the paucity of evidence and the potential for diabetes management to mitigate the adverse effects of low socioeconomic status.