AIM: Diabetes distress captures a range of emotional responses and reactions to life with diabetes and is considered a part of the experience of managing diabetes and its treatment. Given the importance of the social context of work life for people of working age we set out to explore whether work-related diabetes distress is a distinct and important dimension of diabetes-related emotional distress in working people with type 1 diabetes.
METHODS: A questionnaire with self-reported measures of psychosocial health and well-being at work was completed by 1126 working people with type 1 diabetes from a specialist diabetes clinic in Denmark. Work-related diabetes distress was assessed with two questions about worry and exhaustion related to reconciling work life and diabetes. Diabetes-related emotional distress was assessed with the Problem Areas in Diabetes scale (PAID-5), a short form version of the full PAID scale. We performed inter-item correlation analyses, exploratory factor analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression analyses.
RESULTS: Inter-item correlations and exploratory factor analysis indicated that work-related diabetes distress was distinct from diabetes-related emotional distress. Further, work-related diabetes distress was found to be a unique contributor to work ability, quality of life, intentional hyperglycaemia at work, and absenteeism, after adjusting for covariates and diabetes-related emotional distress.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that work-related diabetes distress captures an aspect of distress so far unaccounted for in workers with type 1 diabetes. Further studies are needed to strengthen the conceptual basis of work-related diabetes distress, explore its clinical usefulness and clarify its risk factors.