Psychological Flexibility Among Youth with Type 1 Diabetes: Relating Patterns of Acceptance, Adherence, and Stress to Adaptation


Psychological flexibility, a complex concept encompassing both acceptance and action related factors, has been identified as a target for intervention for diabetes management. Research suggests acceptance, self-management, and stress, all factors that influence psychological flexibility, have an impact on adaptation to type 1 diabetes (T1D) by youth independently. However, yet to be explored is individually varying patterns of these variables and how they may relate to diabetes adaptation outcomes. The present study aimed to establish individual variations of patterns of these factors to derive profiles of psychological flexibility, and examine their relations to the adaptation outcomes of glycemic control and health-related quality of life. Youth (N = 162, aged 12–17 years) with T1D completed the Acceptance and Action Diabetes Questionnaire, Diabetes Stress Questionnaire, Self-Care Inventory, and Pediatric Quality of Life-Diabetes Module. Hemoglobin A1c values were abstracted from medical records. Latent profile analysis yielded three profiles: High Acceptance & Adherence/Low Stress, Low Acceptance/Moderate Adherence & Stress, and Low Acceptance & Adherence/High Stress. The High Acceptance & Adherence/Low Stress group displayed significantly higher health-related quality of life and lower HbA1c compared to other groups. Fluid psychological variables, such as acceptance and diabetes stress, and adherence behaviors may be salient targets to increase psychological flexibility for individual psychosocial interventions aimed at improving adaptation to type 1 diabetes in youth.

Publication Title

Behavioral Medicine