Psychosocial health amongst people with diabetes
Last year, researchers from Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen and the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen reported findings from a questionnaire-based survey that mapped psychosocial health amongst people with diabetes in Denmark at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first questionnaire was distributed to 2,430 adults (>18 years) with diabetes from two user panels at Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen and the Danish Diabetes Association; this generated 1,366 (56%) replies. The participants then received five additional questionnaires, covering the period between 19 March and 25 June 2020, which amounted to a total of six consecutive measurements of psychosocial health. The questionnaire measured COVID-19-specific worries, feelings of social isolation, quality of life, psychological distress, anxiety, diabetes distress, and both general and diabetes-specific loneliness.
Key study findings:
- On average, the respondents’ COVID-19-specific worries, feelings of social isolation, quality of life, psychological distress, anxiety, and general loneliness decreased from March to June 2020. However:
- Loneliness seemed to increase during the lockdown from mid-March to mid-April and then started to decrease during the reopening of society from mid-April to late June.
- Quality of life seemed to deteriorate during the lockdown from mid-March to mid-April and did not improve again during the reopening.
- On average, the respondents’ levels of diabetes distress and diabetes-specific loneliness did not change when comparing the levels measured in March and June.
- Women appeared to have a greater decrease in feelings of social isolation and psychological distress as well as a greater increase in quality of life between mid-April and late June compared to men.
The findings of the study suggest that psychosocial health amongst people with diabetes changed during the initial phases of the pandemic-related lockdown which, in turn, suggests a potential need for mitigating the acute effects of lockdown policies on psychosocial health. A follow-up questionnaire designed to assess long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently being planned for distribution in March 2021, one year after the initial lockdown in Denmark.
This study was conducted in close collaboration with the Danish Diabetes Association. The results of this study have been published in the journal Diabetes and Its Complications. The full text is available here: Psychosocial health in people with diabetes during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark.