Visual Abstract

Objective: To assess diabetes-related distress in young adults with diabetes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: Young adults were recruited through the College Diabetes Network community. Participants completed the validated, 4-item, short-form Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS) virtually, using two recall periods: ‘during the past month’ and ‘prior to the pandemic’. Paired-samples t-tests and Pearson’s correlations were used for analyses.

Results: The survey was completed by 375 participants (mean age 22.4±3.2 years, 79% female) in October 2020. Total DDS scores and individual items were significantly higher at the time of the survey compared to prior to the pandemic (all p<.001; see figure below). Additionally, 46% of participants retrospectively endorsed a score above the cutoff for high distress prior to the pandemic, while 54% endorsed a score above the cutoff in the last month. High diabetes distress in the past month was associated with higher self-reported HbA1c (r=.25, p<.001).

Conclusions: Young adults report their diabetes distress has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of mental health support for young adults with diabetes during this time. Future work should utilize longitudinal methods to further assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes-related distress.


D. St. pierre: None. P. V. Commissariat: None. A. Sabino: None. S. Lee: None. J. Saylor: None.

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