DOI: 10.1177/26350106231196300 ISSN:

COVID-19 Impact Predicts Diabetes Distress Among Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes

Leigh Anne Koonmen, Terry A. Lennie, Laura B. Hieronymus, Mary Kay Rayens, Melinda Ickes, Jennifer L. Miller, Gia Mudd-Martin
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Health (social science)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


The purpose of this study was to determine whether COVID-19 impact and Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) service attendance predicted diabetes distress among individuals with type 2 diabetes during the pandemic.


Eighty-six adults with type 2 diabetes who either attended (n = 29) or did not previously attend (n = 57) DSMES services completed a cross-sectional survey. Participants’ mean age was 57 ± 12.3 years, 50% were female, and 71.3% were diagnosed with diabetes >5 years. The Coronavirus Impact Scale was used to measure impact of the pandemic on daily life. The Diabetes Distress Scale was used to measure distress overall and within 4 subscales (emotional burden, interpersonal distress, physician-related distress, regimen distress). Separate multiple linear regressions were conducted for each outcome, controlling for age, sex, marital status, financial status, and time since diabetes diagnosis.


Higher COVID-19 impact predicted higher diabetes-related distress for all subscales and overall. Only the subscale for interpersonal distress was predicted by DSMES attendance, which decreased with DSMES attendance.


This study identifies a link between the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and diabetes distress. The findings highlight the negative impact of the pandemic on diabetes distress and the importance of DSMES services for diabetes-related distress. Interventions are needed to reduce psychological distress among this population during public health crises.

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