Mental Health, Behavioral Screenings Vital for Pediatric Patients With T1D

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Older teens scored higher in domains suggesting risk for psychologic disorders, including anxiety and depression, in addition to difficulty interacting appropriately with peers.
Older teens scored higher in domains suggesting risk for psychologic disorders, including anxiety and depression, in addition to difficulty interacting appropriately with peers.

Mental health and behavioral screenings should be routine part of care for pediatric patients with diabetes, according to research presented at the American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions, held June 9-13 in San Diego, California.

Sara H. Duffus, MD, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review focused on children aged 11 to 17 years with type 1 diabetes who had attended a multidisciplinary pediatric endocrinology practice.

Patients completed a self-report version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a screening tool. Of 128 patients with type 1 diabetes, a significantly higher proportion of the group aged 11 to 14 years had an abnormal score in the impact category when compared with normative data (28.4% vs 15.1%, respectively; P =.02). Patients aged 15 to 17 years had a significantly higher proportion of type 1 diabetes patients with abnormal scores across multiple domains, including total difficulties (20.4% vs 10.9%; P =.02), emotional problems (23.7% vs 14.2%; P =.04), peer problems (38.9% vs 19.8%; P =.0002), and impact score (25.4% vs 13.7%; P =.009).

"This study suggests that patients with type 1 diabetes, particularly older teenagers, have a higher burden of behavioral issues and emotional symptoms when compared [with] their peers without diabetes," the researchers said. "Older teens scored higher in domains suggesting risk for psychologic disorders, including anxiety and depression, in addition to difficulty interacting appropriately with peers.

"Furthermore, the significant elevation of the impact score indicates that these patients perceive that there has been some impairment of their daily function. These findings…[underscore] the need for a multidisciplinary management team, including social work and psychology."

Reference

Duffus SH, Cooper K, Jain N. Mental health and behavioral screening in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.  Presented at: American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions; June 9-13, 2017; San Diego, CA. Abstract 98-LB.

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