Stress and coping in relation to metabolic control of adolescents with type 1 diabetes

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1987 Jun;8(3):136-40.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether measures of anxiety, stress, and means of coping with stress differ in diabetic adolescents in good, fair, and poor metabolic control. Trait anxiety, perceived daily stress, and coping responses to a recent stressful event were assessed in 27 adolescents with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Information also was obtained regarding the type of stressful events that subjects referred to in completing the coping measure, as well as their appraisals of the events. Hemoglobin A1 (HbA1) obtained at the time of the study was used as a measure of antecedent metabolic control. Based upon their HbA1, patients were divided into three metabolic control subgroups: good control (M = 8.4%; n = 8), fair control (M = 10.9%; n = 9), and poor control (M = 13.3%; n = 10). Patients in these subgroups were similar with regard to age, disease duration, and socioeconomic status. Results indicated that the subgroups did not differ on the anxiety and stress measures; however, analyses of the coping data indicated that patients in poor control employed significantly more wishful thinking and avoidance/help-seeking than did patients in good metabolic control. Furthermore, the metabolic control subgroups differed in the type of stressful events reported and their appraisals of the stressful events. These results support the hypothesis that the ways in which individuals with diabetes appraise and cope with stress is related to their metabolic control. The findings are discussed in relation to methodological issues and treatment implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A