Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is commonly diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 14 years (SEARCH, 2007). Age at diagnosis (AAD) and social support predict diabetes adjustment (Helgeson et al., 2009; La Greca et al., 1995; Trento et al., 2014). Age-related differences in social support and independence make it important to consider how adaptation to a diabetes diagnosis varies with development.
Participants were drawn from a larger study examining psychosocial factors and diabetes outcomes at the University of Chicago Medicine. The current study sample included 121 youth (55.4% male) (Mage = 13.43 years, SD = 2.76, range = 8-18) (Mage at diagnosis = 9.20 years, SD = 3.55, range = 0-17). Youth reported on social support. Glycemic control measures at four time points were obtained from medical records.
Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the relations between AAD and glycemic control trajectories with social support as a moderator. There was a significant main effect of AAD predicting A1c intercept (β = -0.428, p = 0.021), with results indicating that youth who were diagnosed earlier showed higher A1c levels at time point 1.
A significant interaction between social support from friends and current age (time) (β = 0.467, p = 0.030) indicates that the effect of social support from friends on HbA1c trajectories varies over time. As children get older, having more social support from friends appears to be more detrimental to glycemic control trajectories than having less social support.
A trending interaction between AAD and social support from friends (β = -0.514, p = 0.057) suggested the effect of age at diagnosis on HbA1c intercept varies across levels of social support from friends.
Social support from friends impacts diabetes management and should be explored further to determine how and why diabetes management outcomes vary across development.
Current findings support American Diabetes Association (2010) recommendations to encourage the collaboration between diabetes care providers from both biological and behavioral medicine to ensure the best health outcomes for youth.
Type of Research
Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity for Scholarship (DUOS)