Background: Despite its poor prognosis, the psychological factors associated with recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis are poorly understood. In people with type 1 diabetes, we assessed for psychopathology in those with and without recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Method: The design was a case–control study. Cases were defined as people with two or more DKA episodes in a 12-month period (recurrent DKA). Cases and controls were matched for gender and age. We compared groups for scores on Beck's Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck's Depression Inventory II, Difficulty in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised, Standardised Assessment of Personality-Abbreviated Scale (SAPAS), Interpersonal Problem Inventory, Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire and Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) using unpaired t-tests or Mann–Whitney U tests for parametric and non-parametric data, respectively. Correction was made for multiple testing. Results: In all, 23 cases and 23 controls were recruited with mean age 31.0 (11.4) years and 65.2% were men. Cases had higher HbA1c levels than controls (101.1 (23.2) vs. 85.7 (21.7) mmol/mol, (p = 0.02)). Compared to controls, people with recurrent DKA had higher scores on the BAI (p = 0.004), PAID (p = 0.004), DERS (p = 0.001) and SAPAS (p < 0.001). Sixteen of 23 (69.6%) cases screened positive for a personality disorder compared to 6 of 23 (26.1%) controls. Conclusions: People with recurrent DKA have elevated levels of anxiety and diabetes distress, greater difficulty with emotion regulation and personality dysfunction compared to matched controls.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • health care delivery
  • other complications
  • psychological aspects


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