Hypoglycemic Confidence in the Partners of Adults with Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2020 Apr;22(4):249-255. doi: 10.1089/dia.2019.0313. Epub 2019 Nov 8.


Background: Hypoglycemic confidence (HC) represents the degree to which an individual feels secure regarding his or her ability to stay safe from hypoglycemia-related problems. Self-report scales assessing HC in adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have found that greater HC is associated with better glycemic control and that HC rises significantly after real-time continuous glucose monitoring is introduced. To determine whether HC might be similarly meaningful in the partners of T1D adults, we developed the Hypoglycemic Confidence Scale for Partners (Partner-HCS). This article describes the construction and validation of the Partner-HCS and examines how HC in T1D partners is related to hypoglycemia-related experience and key psychosocial constructs. Methods: Items were developed from interviews with seven T1D partners, resulting in 12 self-report items. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was then conducted on data collected from T1D partners (n = 218). Variables to establish construct validity for the Partner-HCS included partner-reported diabetes distress, hypoglycemic fear, generalized anxiety, and confidence regarding glucagon use, as well as frequency of recent severe hypoglycemia in the T1D adult. Hierarchical regression analyses examined the unique contribution of Partner-HCS scores, independent of hypoglycemic fear, to key psychosocial constructs and hypoglycemia-related factors. Results: EFA of the 12 items yielded a single-factor solution, accounting for 51.2% of the variance. Construct validity was demonstrated by significant univariate associations with key psychosocial constructs. Importantly, Partner-HCS total score was, independent of hypoglycemic fear, significantly associated with diabetes distress (P < 0.05), overall relationship satisfaction (P = 0.004), number of severe hypoglycemic episodes in the last 6 months (P < 0.05), and confidence using glucagon (P = 0.007). In total, 38.5% of T1D partners indicated relatively low HC. Conclusions: HC is an important facet of the experiences of T1D partners. It is related to, yet distinct from, hypoglycemic fear. The Partner-HCS is a reliable, valid method for assessing HC in partners of T1D adults.

Keywords: Confidence; Hypoglycemia; Partners; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Glucagon / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoglycemia / psychology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Qualitative Research
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Glucagon