College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Winter 3-18-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Susan Tran, PhD


This thesis examines the roles diabetes-specific distress and social support play in impacting glycemic control trajectories in youth with type 1 diabetes. Due to the increase in responsibilities and stressors occurring during pre-adolescence and adolescence, it is particularly important to consider the impact of diabetes-specific distress on glycemic control trajectories during this time, in order to determine best practices for screening and treating this population. It is also important to consider how social support may serve as a buffer against negative diabetes outcomes. In order to determine how diabetes-specific distress and social support impact glycemic control trajectories in this population, scores on the Problem Areas in Diabetes Scale (PAID-5), Multidimensional Scale of Social Support (MSPSS), and hemoglobin A1c values over three time points were collected from 121 youth (55.4% male) between the ages of 8 and 18 years visiting a diabetes clinic at a large academic medical center in an urban city in the Midwestern United States. Multilevel modeling was used to test for the effects of diabetes-specific distress and social support on glycemic control trajectories. Results found that diabetes-specific distress significantly predicted glycemic control trajectories over time, when moderated by the significant other subscale of the MSPSS (β = -0.799, p = 0.007). A trend toward a significant interaction between diabetes-specific distress and the total social support score in predicting glycemic control trajectories was also found (β = -0.572, p = 0.053). Simple slopes analyses found that the trajectory for youth with higher levels of distress and lower levels of support (both total and for significant others) was significantly different from zero and increasing (i.e., becoming poorer) over time (Total support: β = 1.42, p = 0.033; Significant other support: β = 1.93, p = 0.007). Results suggest that diabetes-specific distress and social support may be important areas of screening and intervention for youth with type 1 diabetes.

SLP Collection