To explore associations between reductions in diabetes distress (DD) and improvements in glycemic outcomes among adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the context of a DD randomized clinical trial.Adults with T1D (N = 301) participated in a two-arm trial aimed at reducing DD (DD-focused OnTrack group vs. education-oriented KnowIt group). Mean age was 45.1 years; mean baseline HbA1c was 8.8% (73 mmol/mol). Individuals were assessed at baseline and 9 months later on DD, self-care, HbA1c, and frequency of hypoglycemia. Structural equation models evaluated hypothesized pathways among changes in DD, self-care, and glycemic outcomes in the total sample and by intervention group.Reductions in DD were significantly and independently associated with better self-care, including fewer missed insulin boluses, more frequent insulin adjustment, improved problem-solving skills, more blood glucose monitoring, and greater adoption of continuous glucose monitoring (all P < 0.05). In turn, better self-care was linked with better glycemic outcomes, including fewer episodes of hypoglycemia and improved HbA1c over time. Fit indices indicated good fit of the model to the data (confirmatory fit index = 0.94, root mean square error of approximation = 0.05), with stronger and more meaningful associations for OnTrack than for KnowIt.In the context of an intervention to reduce DD for adults with T1D, results indicate that reductions in DD do not affect glycemic outcomes directly but through improvements in self-care behavior. Findings support the importance of integrating disease management with DD interventions to maximize improvements in glycemic outcomes.
Danielle Hessler, Lisa Strycker, Lawrence Fisher