OBJECTIVE To determine whether personality traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional regulation, extraversion, and openness to experience) are associated with glycemic control and blood glucose monitoring behavior, and change or stability of these outcomes over time, in young people with type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A 3-year longitudinal study was conducted using data from 142 individuals with type 1 diabetes, 8–19 years of age. Personality was assessed at baseline using the Five Factor Personality Inventory for Children. Data relating to glycemic control (HbA1c) and frequency of blood glucose monitoring (based on meter memory) were collected annually. Relationships between personality traits and HbA1c and monitoring frequency were examined using regression models and mixed-design ANOVA.
RESULTS Three of the five-factor domains were independently associated with glycemic control. Individuals high in conscientiousness and agreeableness had a lower and more stable HbA1c across the 3-year study period. In contrast, the HbA1c of individuals scoring low on these traits was either consistently worse or deteriorated over time. Low or high emotional regulation scores were also associated with worse glycemic control. By the third year, these domains, together with initial HbA1c, accounted for 39% of HbA1c variance. Conscientiousness was the only personality factor associated with blood glucose monitoring behavior.
CONCLUSION Results of this study underline the importance of personality in contributing to diabetes outcomes. Attention to a young person’s personality, and appropriate tailoring of diabetes management to ensure an individualized approach, may help to optimize diabetes outcomes.
- Received August 27, 2012.
- Accepted April 29, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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