College is an exciting, challenging, and anxiety-provoking time that introduces new barriers to diabetes, such as inconsistent schedules, changes to diet and exercise routines, and social support issues. For students with diabetes, these barriers may contribute to new or existing psychosocial difficulties. The purpose of this study was to assess diabetes distress, depression, and diabetes quality of life (QoL) in a university population with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Using a descriptive, cross-sectional design, students completed the Type 1 Diabetes Distress Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Self-care Inventory-R, and Diabetes Quality of Life Scale. Linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between diabetes distress and 1) glycemic control, 2) self-care, 3) diabetes QoL. A total of 56 college students with T1D (age=21.5±5.2 years, 80.4% (n=45) female, 89.3% (n=50) white; A1C=8.2±1.6%; duration 10.3±5.4 years; BMI=25.3±4.2 kg/m2) participated in the study. Of the 56 students, 35.7% (n=20) reported high diabetes distress. The subscales with the highest distress scores included: Powerlessness (57.1%, n=32), Management Distress (50.0%, n=28), and Eating Distress (42.9%, n=24). Further, 23.2% (n=13) of T1D participants also screened positive for severe depression; Fisher’s exact tests showed severe depression was associated with high distress (p<0.001). Linear regression models found high scores of diabetes distress (standardized b= 0.718, p<0.001) were independently associated with lower diabetes QoL after controlling for depressive symptoms, age, and gender; this model accounted for 67% of the variation in diabetes QoL. Using the same model, diabetes distress was not associated with A1C levels or self-care. Participating students experienced high levels of diabetes distress at this university in the Midwest. Additional research is needed to establish potential causal effects of the college setting on diabetes distress levels and diabetes QoL.


E.A. Beverly: None. E.H. Guseman: None. R.G. Rennie: None. A.M. Healy: None.


American Osteopathic Association (1291708718)

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