Aim: Management of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a complex multi-step process in which executive function (EF) skills (planning, organization, problem solving) are critical for optimal control. In teens with T1D, EF may be important in transitioning from parent-supervised care to self-care.

Methods: In an 18-month study, teens aged 13-17 years with T1D and parents completed the Diabetes Family Responsibility Questionnaire (DFR) and Readiness for Independent Self-Care Questionnaire (RISQ) every 6 months. Teen EF was assessed by parent proxy-report using Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) . T-score ≥60 defined risk of executive dysfunction for the Global EF Composite (GEC) , Behavioral Regulation Index (BRI) and Metacognition Index (MI) . EF, demographic, and T1D treatment variables were used to predict change in RISQ over time using longitudinal mixed models with false discovery rate adjustment.

Results: 169 teens (54% male) participated with baseline age 15.9±1.3 years, T1D duration 8.4±3.7 years, HbA1c 8.6±1.2%, 74.6% insulin pump use, and 21.3% continuous glucose monitor (CGM) use. 31.4% of teens had a parent-reported GEC score ≥60. After adjusting for age, gender, and parent-reported DFR (pDFR) , those with GEC ≥60 had parent-reported RISQ (pRISQ) 4.1 points lower than those with GEC <60, p=0.016. BRI (adjusted for age, CGM use, pDFR, and HbA1c) did not predict change in pRISQ while MI (adjusted for age, gender, and pDFR) did; those with MI ≥60 had pRISQ 5.3 points lower than those with MI <60, p<0.001. In models using teen-reported DFR and RISQ (tRISQ) , GEC and MI similarly predicted lower tRISQ. In all models, lower age (p<0.05) and greater parent involvement (p<0.001) also predicted lower RISQ.

Conclusion: EF, especially metacognition, appears important for acquisition of self-care behaviors for teens with T1D. Evaluating EF during adolescence may identify teens with executive dysfunction who may need extra support during the transition process.


R.J.Vitale: None. L.J.Tinsley: None. L.K.Volkening: None. L.M.Laffel: Advisory Panel; Medtronic, Roche Diabetes Care, Consultant; Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, Dexcom, Inc., Dompé, Insulet Corporation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Lilly Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Provention Bio, Inc.


NIH T32DK007529NIH P30DK036836NIH R01DK095273JDRF 2-SRA-2014-253-M-B

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