Adolescent girls with type 1 diabetes have worse perception of condition than boys

Adolescent girls with type 1 diabetes have worse perception of condition than boys

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Teenage girls with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have negative perceptions of the condition compared with teenage boys with type 1 diabetes, a study finds.

Researchers at Oslo University Hospital, Norway stress that a tailored treatment approach could be warranted for males and females with type 1 diabetes.

The Oslo team evaluated 105 males and females aged between 12 and 20 years, all of whom had type 1 diabetes. They aimed to investigate psychological barriers to achieving optimal insulin therapy, such as illness perceptions and coping strategies.

The researchers focused specifically on gender differences and mode of treatment: 66 per cent used insulin pumps and 34 per cent used an insulin pen.

Participants were asked to complete three questionnaires, and diabetes clinical data was collected from the Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Registry.

On the brief illness perception questionnaire, girls had a higher score, meaning they had significantly more negative illness perceptions.

Females also scored significantly higher than males for concerns about insulin. Those using an insulin pen had more negative views on treatment control to participants who used an insulin pump.

However, there were no differences between boys and girls for perception of insulin necessity.

Despite the girls tending to be more concerned about insulin and their condition on the whole, girls were found to score significantly higher with the positive coping strategies ‘being social’ and ‘solving family problems’.

“Addressing psychological aspects may be a clinically important supplement to standard somatic T1D care,” the researchers wrote.

“The consistent finding of gender differences across the psychological measures implies that a tailored treatment approach for males and females with T1D may be warranted.”

The study appears in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes &Care.