Diabetes Mellitus as a Model of Psychosomatic and Somatopsychic Interrelationships
The Spanish Journal of Psychology
The article reviews research on the problem of interrelationship between different physical and psychosocial factors in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1). The authors consider methodological principles of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) assessment in DM1 patients and stress the need for an integrated biopsychosocial approach to the management of the disease. DM1 is a chronic metabolic disease with an absolute requirement for insulin replacement therapy. The stress-inducing nature of DM1 is
... g nature of DM1 is associated with its unexpected and dramatic manifestation in juvenile years, life-threatening nature of severe hypo-/hyperglycaemias and long-term complications, with the burden of diabetes self-management, threat of work disability, employment and career problems etc. These features of DM1 increase the likelihood of the development of anxiety and depressive disorders, which, in turn, may negatively influence the course of diabetes and in particular, diabetes self-care. This necessitates early diagnosis of emotional and behavioral disturbances in DM1 using self-report instruments as well as clinical assessment. Evidence suggests that active problem-focused coping behavior and adequate social support promote adherence to diabetes regimes and may act as a buffer against negative effects of the disease on HRQoL in DM1 patients. The core element in the HRQoL structure is personal disease picture (as opposed by objective clinical picture) – the cognitive-affective-behavioral complex reflecting the patient's personal perception of the disease. Examination of the personal disease picture and attitude towards the ailment in DM1 patients may help to improve understanding of the mechanisms of poor adjustment. Problems in disease adjustment can be detected also by diabetes-specific HRQoL assessment. The measures of HRQoL can be applied as screening instruments useful in increasing the effectiveness of patient-provider interactions and diabetes care.