OBJECTIVE

To compare the effectiveness of three interventions to reduce diabetes distress (DD) and improve HbA1c among adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Individuals with T1D (n = 276) with elevated DD (a score >2 on the total Type 1 Diabetes Distress Scale) and HbA1c (>7.5%) were recruited from multiple settings and randomly assigned to one of three virtual group-based programs: 1) Streamline, an educator-led education and diabetes self-management program; 2) TunedIn, a psychologist-led program focused exclusively on emotional-focused DD reduction; or 3) FixIt, an integration of Streamline and TunedIn. Assessments of the primary outcomes of DD and HbA1c occurred at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS

All three programs demonstrated substantive and sustained reductions in DD (Cohen’s d = 0.58–1.14) and HbA1c (range, −0.4 to −0.72) at 12-month follow-up. TunedIn and FixIt participants reported significantly greater DD reductions compared with Streamline participants (P = 0.007). Streamline and TunedIn participants achieved significantly greater HbA1c reductions than did FixIt participants (P = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

DD can be successfully reduced among individuals with T1D with elevated HbA1c using both the educational/behavioral and emotion-focused approaches included in the study. Although both approaches are associated with significant and clinically meaningful reductions in DD and HbA1c, TunedIn, the emotion-focused program, had the most consistent benefits across both DD and HbA1c. The study findings suggest the overall value of group-based, fully virtual, and time-limited emotion-focused strategies, like those used in TunedIn, for adults with T1D.

Clinical trial reg. no. NCT04016558, clinicaltrials.gov

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.25773111.

This content is only available via PDF.
Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at https://www.diabetesjournals.org/journals/pages/license.