Adolescents with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) are vulnerable to diabetes-related distress and often struggle to complete self-management tasks needed to maintain blood glucose values in target range. One way that youth with T1D handle problems is through avoidant coping. The current study examined cross-time associations between avoidant coping style and diabetes outcomes and tested the possible mediating role of diabetes-related distress.
Adolescents with T1D (N = 264) were assessed 4 times over 1 year to measure avoidant coping style, diabetes-related distress, adherence (on the basis of glucometer data and self-report), and glycemic control (hemoglobin A1c). Mediation and direct effects were tested across time using time-lagged autoregressive path models, making use of the repeated measurement of all constructs.
The hypothesized mediation effect was found for all 3 diabetes outcomes. Higher levels of avoidant coping style were associated with greater diabetes-related distress at the subsequent time point, which was related in turn to fewer blood glucose checks, less frequent self-care behaviors, and poorer glycemic control (higher A1c) at the next assessment.
In the context of diabetes, an avoidant coping style may contribute to greater diabetes-specific distress followed by deterioration in self-management and glycemic control over time. Maladaptive coping styles are modifiable factors that offer an entry point into intervention before further difficulties can take hold. (PsycINFO Database Record(c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).
Avoidant coping and diabetes-related distress: Pathways to adolescents’ Type 1 diabetes outcomes.