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Keywords:

  • Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (Type 1);
  • Adolescence Adaptation to diabetes;
  • Attitude to diabetes;
  • Emotional difficulty with diabetes;
  • Psychometric scale

We have developed a psychometric test to assess psychosocial adaptation to diabetes in young people aged from 10 to 17 years. This includes subscales which describe emotional difficulty with, and attitude to, diabetes.

The content of the scales was drawn from unstructured discussions with 27 young people with diabetes. The scales were piloted on two further unselected groups of adolescents (n = 50, n = 99) to examine their reliability, validity, and acceptability. Highly significant correlations were found between the results of the scales and measures of psychosocial function (p < 0.001), parents' perceptions of adaptation to diabetes (p < 0.005), and to a lesser extent with paediatricians' perceptions. Performance on the scale also correlated with a number of behaviour variables and differentiated those who were reported to be restricted by their diabetes (p < 0.005) and those who had had a previous psychiatric referral (p < 0.05). The scales appear reliable within the constraints of the small population examined.