Background: Diabetes distress, the emotional burden of caring for the chronic demands of diabetes, has not been well described in children and preadolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D). This gap is particularly evident among youth of lower socioeconomic status (SES) and/or racial/ethnic minorities. Since these groups are more likely to have disparities in health outcomes and healthcare related to their diabetes, factors that could potentially improve glycemic and other diabetes-related outcomes should be studied closely.
Objective: We hypothesized that (a) diabetes distress levels would be elevated in children with markers of lower SES and those of racial/ethnic minorities, and (b) higher HbA1c would be predicted by higher diabetes distress levels, when controlling for race/ethnicity, SES, and clinical covariates.
Methods: One hundred and eighty-seven youth age 9 to 13 with T1D completed age-appropriate Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) questionnaires using a web-based portal during routine diabetes care visits.
Results: PAID scores were significantly elevated in youth who had surrogate markers of lower SES and who were from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. In multivariate models including race/ethnicity or the SES variables and controlling for clinical covariates, the factor most predictive of higher HbA1c was elevated PAID score.
Conclusions: Diabetes distress is elevated in a younger population of children with T1D who are from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds or have markers of lower SES. Interventions that target distress and/or expand the safety net in these populations could potentially improve glycemic outcomes.
Keywords: adolescent; child; diabetes mellitus, type 1; minority; psychological factors; socioeconomic status.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons A/S . Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.