This study examines the relationships between illness perceptions and illness-related distress among adults with type 2 diabetes. Research participants (N = 615) were randomly selected from a primary care database in New Zealand. Data were collected through a mailed questionnaire survey and review of medical records. The primary outcome was diabetes-related psychological distress measured using the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) scale. Multiple regression analyses controlling for age, clinical characteristics, and mental health showed that illness perceptions accounted for 15% of differences in distress about diabetes (F change (4,462) = 35.37, p < .001). Poor mental health and illness severity alone do not explain differences in diabetes-related emotional adjustment. Results suggest that ‘making sense’ of diabetes may be central to successfully managing the emotional consequences of diabetes.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 2010, 39 (1), pp. 45 - 50