Objective: To establish cut point(s) for the Problem Areas in Diabetes-teen version (PAID-T) scale to identify adolescents with clinically meaningful, elevated diabetes distress.
Research design and methods: Data were available from the Diabetes Management and Impact for Long-term Empowerment and Success (MILES) Youth-Australia Study, a national survey assessing various psychosocial indicators among self-selected National Diabetes Services Scheme registrants. Participants in the current study (n = 537) were (mean ± SD) 16 ± 2 years old, had type 1 diabetes for ± 6 4 years, and 62% (n = 334) were girls. They completed measures of diabetes distress (PAID-T) and depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents) and self-reported their most recent HbA1c and frequency of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG). Relationships between the PAID-T and the psychological and clinical variables were examined to identify a clinically meaningful threshold for elevated diabetes distress. ANOVA was used to test whether these variables differed by levels of distress.
Results: Two cut points distinguished none-to-mild (<70), moderate (70-90), and high (>90) diabetes distress.Moderate distresswas experienced by 18%of adolescents and high distress by 36%. Mean depressive symptoms, self-reported HbA1c, and SMBG differed significantly across the three levels of diabetes distress (all P < 0.001), with moderate-to-large effect sizes.
Conclusions: Using the PAID-T, this study defined two clinically meaningful cut points to distinguish none-to-mild, moderate, and high diabetes distress in adolescents (aged 13- 19). Based on these cut points, most respondents experienced at least moderate diabetes distress,which was clinically significant. Establishing thresholds for elevated diabetes distress will aid clinicians and researchers to interpret PAID-T scores, prompt discussion and intervention for those with unmet needs, and enable the effectiveness of interventions to be evaluated.