ACBRD at the 2021 virtual Australasian Diabetes Congress

By Amelia Williams, Dr Edith Holloway, and Ralph Geerling

The Australasian Diabetes Congress (ADC) is the Annual Scientific Meeting hosted by the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA). Around 1,200 delegates attended the 3-day meeting, which was held online from 11 to 13 August 2021.

On Wednesday afternoon, Prof Jane Speight was an invited speaker in an ADS/ADEA joint symposium on mental health. She discussed diabetes stigma: recognising and ending the ‘blame and shame’ game. In her overview, she discussed the ACBRD’s research showing the the extent to which people with diabetes experience diabetes stigma and its impact on their emotional well-being, self-care and outcomes. She showed that sources of stigma include the media, diabetes campaigns, and health professionals. She argued that, as a society, we need to change the image of diabetes (erase stereotypes and associations with unhealthy foods etc) and improve the language we use to communicate about diabetes.

On Thursday morning, Dr Christel Hendrieckx took part in a panel discussion about the new JDRF National Type 1 Diabetes Screening Program. Christel is an investigator on this new project. Her research will focus on the impact on parent’s well-being of screening children for type 1 diabetes.

On Thursday afternoon, Ralph Geerling gave an oral presentation on his PhD research: a systematic review of the relationship between personality and weight management in adults living with type 2 diabetes. Of the 5,000 search results, 13 papers were included for review. The main findings were that a tendency to experience negative emotions, such as trait Neuroticism (calm vs anxious), compromised health. Health was protected by more positive feelings and social connections, such as with Extraversion (reserved vs sociable), as well as trait Conscientiousness (impulsive vs disciplined). Further studies are needed. Ralph  concluded that personality may be an important tool for optimising weight management interventions in type 2 diabetes in the future.

The ACBRD presented two e-posters in the virtual Poster Hall:

Dr Edith Holloway presented findings from three ‘snapshot’ surveys conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australian adults with diabetes calling the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Helpline were invited to take part in a brief survey about how they are feeling about their diabetes. The findings (under review) highlight that diabetes distress is commonly experienced by people with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic and that younger adults may be more impacted than others.

Amelia Williams presented findings from the Messages to Engage Mothers after Gestational Diabetes in Australia (ME-MaGDA) qualitative study. Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, so it is important to attend regular screening after the pregnancy. However, many women face barriers to attending. To learn about these barriers, we interviewed 19 women with prior GDM. Findings showed that the main barriers relate to competing demands, emotions, beliefs about screening and diabetes, and identity as a mother. These findings will be used to develop messaging to support women with prior GDM to overcome barriers to diabetes screening.

Visit the Australasian Diabetes Congress website here.

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