Profiles of Depressive Symptoms and Diabetes Distress in Preadolescents With Type 1 Diabetes

Rachel M. Wasserman, Sahar S. Eshtehardi, Barbara J. Anderson, Jill A. Weissberg-Benchell, Marisa E. Hilliard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Diabetes distress and depressive symptoms are common psychosocial concerns for people with diabetes. These are related, yet distinct, mood states, which have each been related to diabetes management and glycated hemoglobin (A1C) among adolescents and adults with diabetes. However, they have not been examined concurrently in preadolescents with type 1 diabetes. Understanding the overlaps and distinctions between diabetes distress and depressive symptoms in youth would help guide decisions about psychosocial screening in diabetes clinical practice. In this study, we aimed to categorize preadolescents based on clinical cutoffs of concurrently administered measures of depressive symptoms and diabetes distress, and identify clinical and demographic characteristics of each group. Methods: One hundred eighty youth (age range, 9 to 13 years; age [mean ± standard deviation], 11.3±1.3 years; 55% female; 56% Caucasian; mean A1C, 8.4±1.6% [68 mmol/mol]) completed measures of diabetes distress, depressive symptoms and quality of life. Daily blood glucose monitoring frequency was calculated from meter download. A1C values were obtained from electronic medical records. Results: Depressive symptoms and diabetes distress each significantly correlated with A1C and quality of life. Although most (69%) participants had no clinically significant elevations in either diabetes distress or depressive symptoms, 14% had elevated depressive symptoms only and 17% had elevated distress without concurrent elevated depressive symptoms. Groups differed based on A1C, quality of life and insurance status. Conclusions: Routine assessment of both depressive symptoms and diabetes distress may help to identify preadolescents with type 1 diabetes who require psychosocial support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Diabetes
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • adolescents
  • children
  • health care delivery
  • psychological aspects
  • type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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