Aims/hypothesis: Problematic hypoglycaemia still complicates insulin therapy for some with type 1 diabetes. This study describes baseline emotional, cognitive and behavioural characteristics in participants in the HARPdoc trial, which evaluates a novel intervention for treatment-resistant problematic hypoglycaemia.

Methods: We documented a cross-sectional baseline description of 99 adults with type 1 diabetes and problematic hypoglycaemia despite structured education in flexible insulin therapy. The following measures were included: Hypoglycaemia Fear Survey II (HFS-II); Attitudes to Awareness of Hypoglycaemia questionnaire (A2A); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Index; and Problem Areas In Diabetes. k-mean cluster analysis was applied to HFS-II and A2A factors. Data were compared with a peer group without problematic hypoglycaemia, propensity-matched for age, sex and diabetes duration (n = 81).

Results: The HARPdoc cohort had long-duration diabetes (mean ± SD 35.8 ± 15.4 years), mean ± SD Gold score 5.3 ± 1.2 and a median (IQR) of 5.0 (2.0-12.0) severe hypoglycaemia episodes in the previous year. Most individuals had been offered technology and 49.5% screened positive for anxiety (35.0% for depression and 31.3% for high diabetes distress). The cohort segregated into two clusters: in one (n = 68), people endorsed A2A cognitive barriers to hypoglycaemia avoidance, with low fear on HFS-II factors; in the other (n = 29), A2A factor scores were low and HFS-II high. Anxiety and depression scores were significantly lower in the comparator group.

Conclusions/interpretation: The HARPdoc protocol successfully recruited people with treatment-resistant problematic hypoglycaemia. The participants had high anxiety and depression. Most of the cohort endorsed unhelpful health beliefs around hypoglycaemia, with low fear of hypoglycaemia, a combination that may contribute to persistence of problematic hypoglycaemia and may be a target for adjunctive psychological therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-948
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


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