Determinants of the quality of life of patients with diabetes under intensified insulin therapy.
OBJECTIVE: The concept of quality of life (QOL) is understood as a multidimensional construct made up of physiological, psychological, and social aspects, but their particular weightings for the global QOL are rarely investigated. We examined 1) the general QOL of patients with diabetes, 2) the significance of the individual QOL aspects for the overall assessment of QOL, and 3) the modulating function of coping mechanism and particular personality traits. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 116 diabetes patients under intensified insulin therapy were studied, as were 107 patients with inflammatory bowel disease, 66 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 229 students who served as control subjects. The examination was based on eight standardized QOL and personality questionnaires (354 items) and assessed by means of linear structural regression models (AMOS 3.6). RESULTS: The QOL of diabetes patients appears to be higher than the QOL of other chronically ill patients. Social, psychological, and physical aspects contribute to the overall QOL, although physical complaints receive a comparatively low weighting. Coping behavior and particular personality traits covary with all QOL aspects, giving these variables greater significance for the QOL than the existence of secondary illnesses. CONCLUSIONS: The hypothesis that the various factors involved in the multidimensional construct QOL receive different weightings was confirmed, making a simple summary score for the general QOL appear unjustifiable. In addition, all aspects that are commonly understood as parameters of QOL are influenced by external factors, such as coping behavior, based on individual personality characteristics.