The Journal of Health Psychology have recently ran a series of articles showing that a positive attitude towards coping with chronic illness gives a better quality of life.
Adolescent type one diabetics who felt competent in their self- care, were optimistic and had high levels of self- esteem coped better than those who did not share these characteristics. Low resilience was associated with higher distress, poor quality of life, maladaptive coping strategies and poor glycaemic control.
Older adults of low socioeconomic status who had low resilience had an increased risk of diabetic neuropathy compared to those in the same financial straits but with higher resilience.
As a GP I see some children struggle with diabetes and I know that their poor glycaemic control will have devastating consequences in future years. Most of these children have parents who are struggling to cope with their lives, regardless of the diabetes, and don’t seem to be able to make the highly structured changes that are necessary to manage the condition really well. To make matters worse they often miss clinic appointments. There are liaison nurses who do house visits and psychologists who try to help. Proper (not current NHS!)dietary advice would help and even meal provision with portioned carb and protein counts would be one way to help these families. After all, meals are made available free to some pensioners and surely this would be cheaper on the long run than dialysis and the dropping out of the job market that early complications often bring.
(Research findings from Jounal of Health Psychology 2015 20,9, 1196-1206 and 1222-8 from Human Givens Volume 22, No 2, 2015.