Diabetes and Apps

ACBRD (Dr Steve Trawley, Ms. Shaira Baptista and Prof Jane Speight) have recently published a conceptual follow-up to their 2016 paper that looked at mobile health applications (app) use for self-management support amongst adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Published ahead of print in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, this new dataset of 1589 adult respondents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes were asked a similar question about their app usage for self-management support. Only 24% of adults with type 1 diabetes reported using apps to support their diabetes management and most the apps were not diabetes-specific. Interestingly, app usage among these adults was associated with lower self-reported HbA1c. Among adults with type 2 diabetes, only 8% reported they had used apps to help with their diabetes. For these respondents, the most commonly reported reason for not using apps was a belief that apps would not help with their diabetes management.

The lack of app usage, especially among adults with type 2 diabetes, is surprising considering the growing interest in the potential for apps to support self-management of health and the number of new self-management apps hitting the commercial market. These results highlight the need to ensure that app development in this field meets the expressed needs of intended users.

Trawley S, Baptista S, Browne JL, Pouwer F, Speight, J.  The Use of Mobile Applications Among Adults with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: Results from the Second MILES—Australia (MILES-2) Study. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. October 2017, ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1089/dia.2017.0235


Grant success for the ACBRD!

Dr Adriana Ventura and team will take the Diabetes and Emotional Health handbook to the ‘next level’ thanks to funding secured through the ADEA Diabetes Research Foundation.

We are delighted that a project grant submitted to the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) Diabetes Research Foundation has been successful. Led by Dr Adriana Ventura and Dr Christel Hendrieckx, the project is titled ‘Supporting people with diabetes distress: Development and pilot randomised controlled trial of an online training module for health professionals’.

 The objective of the project is to deliver a practical, evidence-based online training module to support health professionals to identify and address diabetes distress in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The content of the module will be based on previous work on the Diabetes and Emotional Health handbook, taking this already high-quality resource to the next level.  A randomised controlled trial will provide important evidence for the effectiveness of the online training module for improving health professional knowledge, motivation and confidence to identify and address diabetes distress in clinical practice.

Once a fully functioning and pilot tested training module is available, the ACBRD plans to offer the module to ADEA members as a tool for continuing professional development (CPD).  The online training module is expected to significantly increase health professionals’ ability to manage emotional health issues in clinical practice.

Measuring stigma associated with Type 1 Diabetes

A new paper from the ACBRD describes development of the DSAS-1 questionnaire. 

by Dr Adriana Ventura

The ACBRD recognises that stigma is perceived and experienced by people with diabetes, and that we need to be able to quantify this so that we can better understand stigma and its relationship with emotional well-being, self-care and clinical outcomes.

In 2014, the ACBRD conducted a qualitative study, interviewing 27 adults with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) about the ‘social experience’ of living with T1DM. We found that stigmatisation is part of the social experience of living with T1DM. That is, adults with T1DM were able to tell us about their perceptions (and experiences) of being negatively judged, stereotyped or blamed for having diabetes. The consequence of this stigma was feeling distressed and isolated, and in some circumstances, delaying or avoiding diabetes self-management tasks (e.g. checking glucose, injecting insulin in public). These personal accounts are really powerful but, until now, there has been no way of measuring the extent to which the wider population of adults with T1DM perceives and experiences diabetes-related stigma. This is due to a lack of validated questionnaires.

Thus, the Type 1 Diabetes Stigma Assessment Scale (DSAS-1) was conceived.

The DSAS-1 was rigorously developed by Dr Jessica Browne and colleagues, and involved input from adults with T1DM to not only test the items, but to ensure the words we used made sense and were relevant for people with T1DM.  A large sample of adults with T1DM (N=898) then completed the items in an online survey. Psychometric analyses were used to examine whether the individual items would combine into a ‘scale’. What resulted was a 19-item scale assessing three distinct but related factors: ‘Treated Differently’, ‘Blame and Judgement’ and ‘Identity Concerns’.

The DSAS-1 is a valid and reliable measure, with satisfactory psychometric properties. It is now available to researchers and clinicians to enable quantitative measurement of the extent and impact of the perceptions and experiences of T1DM stigma.

We have developed a similar scale for type 2 diabetes (the DSAS-2), which was published in Dec 2017, and you can read about it here.

If you would like to use the DSAS-1 or DSAS-2 in your research or clinical practice, please email info@acbrd.org.au to enquire about or access the latest version of the questionnaires and scoring guidance.

Browne J, Ventura A, Mosely K, Speight J. Measuring Type 1 diabetes stigma: development and validation of the Type 1 Diabetes Stigma Assessment Scale (DSAS-1). Diabetic Medicine, 2017; doi: 10.1111/dme.13507.