Diabetes distress, illness perceptions and glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes

Kelly Martinez, Sam Lockhart*, Mark Davies, R. Lindsay John, Martin Dempster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
406 Downloads (Pure)


The emotional distress associated with adjusting to and living with diabetes has been termed diabetes distress. Diabetes distress is associated with glycaemic control but interventions to reduce diabetes distress have failed to consistently improve diabetes control. Various illness perceptions have previously been linked with both diabetes distress and glycaemic control but interrelationships between these features have not been previously investigated. We hypothesised that illness perceptions mediate the relationship between diabetes distress and glycaemia. Participants with type 2 diabetes attending diabetes outpatient clinics (n = 84) provided demographic and clinical information and completed the Diabetes Distress Scale-17 and the Brief Illness Perceptions Questionnaire. Using regression analysis we demonstrated that the illness perceptions of personal control, regimen-related distress, socioeconomic status and insulin use were significant contributors in the final model predicting HbA1c. Higher levels of personal control were associated with better glycaemic control. Conversely, regimen-related distress was associated with hyperglycaemia. Mediation analyses showed that the relationship between regimen-related distress and HbA1c was mediated by personal control. Our work suggests that psychological interventions designed to reduce diabetes distress may be more efficacious in improving glycaemic control if they address an individual’s perception of personal control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-177
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jun 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 14 Jun 2017


  • distress
  • glycaemic control
  • illness perceptions
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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