This article reviews and organizes the recent literature on psychosocial problems and interventions in diabetes to see if it is possible to identify effective modes of treatment for numerous different psychosocial problems. An attempt was made to review extensively the references on psychosocial problems and to review exhaustively the references on psychosocial interventions. The review was organized under four major headings: psychological sequelae of medical crises, psychopathology in diabetes, stress and hassles in living with diabetes, and family dysfunctions. Results of the literature review were similar for all areas: although some studies suggested that these problems are especially severe for people with diabetes, the best-designed studies suggested that this was not so. Regardless of the prevalence of these problems in the diabetic population at large, individuals who suffer from these problems are at special risk for reduced physical and emotional well-being, so they need psychosocial interventions that effectively resolve their difficulties. Unfortunately, the literature on psychosocial interventions in diabetes is meager, and it lacks the systematic, quantitative evaluations necessary to identify effective modes of treatment for different psychosocial problems. It is possible to state tentatively that certain interventions have been used for specific problems with some indication that they can be effective. Issues for future research are identified. Addressing these issues might provide a foundation for making decisions about areas ripe for clinical trials, and ultimately determining which intervention is best suited for treating any given psychosocial problem.

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