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General and diabetes-specific stress in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Background Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the most common chronic health conditions in adolescents in the United States. Adherence to the recommended treatment regimen has been reported as a source of stress for adolescents. Aim The purpose of this study was to examine the associations among general and diabetes-specific stress and glycemic control (HbA1c), self-management, and diabetes-specific quality of life (QOL) in adolescents with T1D. Methods A secondary analysis of baseline data (N   =   320) from a randomized controlled trial was conducted. Adolescents completed validated measures of general and diabetes-specific stress, self-management, and diabetes-specific QOL. HbA1c levels were obtained from medical records. Results Over 50% of the sample scored at or above criteria for high general and diabetes-specific stress. Higher general and diabetes-specific stress was significantly associated with higher HbA1c, poorer self-management activities, and lower diabetes-specific QOL. Diabetes-specific stress accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in HbA1c, while general stress did not. General and diabetes-specific stress accounted for 40% of the variance in diabetes-specific QOL. Conclusions General and diabetes-specific stress are common in adolescents with T1D. Healthcare providers must be mindful of the sources of stress that adolescents with T1D face on a daily basis. General stress and diabetes-specific stress should be differentiated and may require different interventions to improve coping and outcomes.

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