To investigate the social and economic backgrounds of youth-onset insulin-treated diabetes mellitus in Japan.


We conducted a case-control study on 35 diabetic patients with age at onset of 19.5 ±; 5.1 yr and duration of diabetes 14.9 ±; 6.7 yr. Sex- and age-matched (within 5 yr) siblings were selected as control subjects. Thirty-five matched pairs were asked to complete a questionnaire, including employment status and educational achievement.


Overall, diabetic patients were more likely to encounter job refusal in their lives than sibling control subjects (20 vs. 0%), and most patients (6/7) who had an experience of job refusal told job interviewers about their diabetes. Although the full-time employment rate and unemployment rate did not differ significantly between patients and control subjects, income levels were lower among patients than in the sibling (1600 vs. 2500 thousand yen). A multivariate analysis indicated that patients had lower incomes than control subjects after adjusting for the effect of physical disability. Educational achievements in the patients were similar to those in the siblings.


These results suggested that diabetic patients had several social and economic problems in Japan. Further studies in more subjects are required to grasp the social and economic impact on diabetes precisely, and minimize the social handicaps on diabetic patients.

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