Aims : The mean age of onset of Type 2 diabetes mellitus is decreasing in Australia and internationally. We conducted an internet-based survey to improve our understanding of the emotional well-being and unmet needs of younger adults with Type 2 diabetes, and to inform service provision for this group.
Methods : A random sample of National Diabetes Services Scheme registrants (n = 1,417) with Type 2 diabetes, aged 18–39 years, living in the Australian state of Victoria received an invitation to complete the online survey. The study was also advertised state-wide. The survey included validated scales (PAID-5: diabetes-related distress; WHO-5: general emotional well-being) and study-specific items. A total of 149 eligible respondents participated.
Results : Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents reported severe-diabetes related distress; more than a quarter (27%) had impaired general emotional well-being. Most (82%) were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25); most (77%) had at least one other co-morbidity. Lack of motivation, feeling burned out, and being time-poor were identified as top barriers to self-management. More than half (59%) of respondents had not participated in structured diabetes education. Respondents perceived that younger adults with Type 2 diabetes had different health-care needs than their older counterparts (68%), and that most Type 2 diabetes information/services were aimed at older adults (62%). Of a range of potential new services, respondents indicated greatest interest in an online forum specifically for younger adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Conclusions : Younger adults with Type 2 diabetes have impaired emotional well-being and physical health. Population-based research is needed to confirm the current findings, to further inform service delivery and optimise outcomes for this group.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology 111712 Health Promotion 111714 Mental Health