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Comparison of adolescents with and without diabetes on indices of psychosocial functioning for three years.

journal contribution
posted on 2007-08-01, 00:00 authored by Vicki HelgesonVicki Helgeson, Pamela SnyderPamela Snyder, Oscar Escobar, Linda Siminerio, Dorothy J. Becker

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether diabetes is associated with psychosocial difficulties over the transition to adolescence.

METHODS: We compared adolescents with diabetes (n = 132) with a healthy comparison group (n = 131) on indices of psychosocial functioning for 3 years. We interviewed both groups annually and had one parent complete a questionnaire.

RESULTS: There were no group differences in depressive symptoms, anxiety, anger, or behavioral problems. However, adolescents with diabetes showed greater declines in social acceptance compared with healthy adolescents, and a greater rise in disturbed eating behavior. Over time, depressive symptoms and anxiety increased and self-worth decreased for females but not males; however, these differences were not qualified by group

CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes is not associated with indicators of psychological distress from early to middle adolescence, but may be associated with the emergence of social difficulties and eating disturbances. Gender differences in psychological distress emerged, replicating past research.