Diabetes is one of the biggest health problems in the U.S., affecting 9.4% of the population and 19.9% of people in southeastern Ohio. Despite the high prevalence of diabetes, it is understudied in this region. One critical outcome that has not been addressed is diabetes distress. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of diabetes distress in adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). A purposive sample of 36 adults participated in in-depth interviews (55.6% T2D, duration=13.9±13.6 years, A1C=7.6±1.9%, 58.3% on insulin; age=45.8±19.8 years; 58.3% female; 91.7% white). Two researchers independently coded the interviews, met to resolve discrepancies, and agreed on themes. Qualitative analysis revealed 4 themes: 1) Relentless Burden of Self-Care: Both T1D and T2D participants described how hard it was to manage the daily aspects of diabetes, with blood glucose monitoring reported as the most challenging behavior; 2) Perceived Lack of Support: The majority of T1D and T2D participants felt that family and friends did not understand how difficult it was to live with diabetes. Many of these participants chose to hide their diagnosis for fear of stigmatization; 3) Worry about the Inevitability of Complications: All of the participants addressed fears about developing complications, with several experiencing debilitating distress; and 4) Uncertainties about the Cost and Quality of Care: T2D participants voiced more concerns about the cost of care. With rising drug and diabetes supply costs, T2D participants expressed more unease about their future. Further, many T2D participants felt that their primary care providers did not know enough about diabetes to take care of them properly. T1D participants did not report these views.

In conclusion, T1D and T2D shared more common experiences with diabetes distress than not. In southeastern Ohio, people with T1D and T2D diabetes may benefit from group interventions that incorporate problem-solving therapy and emotion regulation.


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


American Osteopathic Association (1291708718)

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