The Centre publishes a peer-reviewed journal article from the MILES Youth study in Diabetes Care.

by Virginia Hagger


Despite the challenges of type 1 diabetes, most adolescents adapt well to living with this chronic condition. Research commonly focuses on those at high risk and with sub-optimal clinical and psychological outcomes, but we can also learn from youth coping well with diabetes.

In a study published recently in Diabetes Care, Assistant Professor Marissa Hilliard (Baylor College, Texas) and colleagues investigated strengths and resilience among 471 young people (between 13 and 19 years), who took part in the Diabetes MILES Youth Study. ‘MILES Youth’ was a national survey, and a collaboration between the ACBRD (Virginia Hagger, Dr Christel Hendrieckx, Dr Steven Trawley and Prof Jane Speight) and several other researchers and paediatric clinicians in Australia, the USA and The Netherlands.

Diabetes strengths and resilience were measured with the DSTAR-Teen, a self-report measure of adaptive attitudes and behaviours related to living with type 1 diabetes, developed by A/Prof Hilliard. The study results show that greater diabetes strengths are associated with more frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), lower self-reported HbA1c and higher general quality of life (QoL). Adolescents with greater diabetes strengths also experience fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms and less diabetes-related family conflict. All three resilient outcomes (SMBG frequency ≥4 checks per day; HbA1c <7.5%; and general QoL rating ≥7/10) were achieved by 27% of the study participants.

These findings among Australian youth support previous research showing that young people with stronger coping and support strategies are more likely to have optimal diabetes self-management and psychological wellbeing. Building on these strengths may help young people to overcome diabetes challenges. Research investigating the outcomes of resilience-oriented interventions is emerging.

Hilliard M, Hagger V, Hendrieckx C, Anderson B, Trawley S, Jack M, Pouwer F, Skinner T, Speight J.Strengths, Risk Factors, and Resilient Outcomes in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes: Results From Diabetes MILES Youth–Australia. Diabetes Care, 2017; 40(7): 849-855.

The Diabetes MILES Youth Study was funded by the National Diabetes Services Scheme, an initiative of the Australian Government, administered with the support of Diabetes Australia.