OBJECTIVE: We examined (a) the demographic and clinical correlates of worries about hypoglycemia in adult family members of adults with diabetes, and (b) the association of these worries with measures of diabetes support.
METHODS: The second multinational Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs (DAWN2) study cross-sectionally surveyed 2057 family members from 17 countries. Participants completed questions about demographics, diabetes, and psychosocial functioning, including worry about overall and nocturnal hypoglycemia. Analyses included hierarchical ordinal and linear regression.
RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of family members (n=1661) were at least occasionally very worried about the risk of hypoglycemic events overall. Correlates of worries about hypoglycemia included female gender, higher age and lower education in the family member, younger age of the person with diabetes and this person being a parent or another adult (versus spouse or partner), insulin or non-insulin injectable treatment, severe or non-severe hypoglycemia in the past 12months, and family member recognition of hypoglycemia. Elevated worries about hypoglycemia had a significant independent association with increased odds of diabetes-related family arguments and family member frustration in providing helpful support (OR range 1.60-3.72). High levels of worries about hypoglycemia were associated with increased odds of attending diabetes-related health-care visits. Worries about hypoglycemia were not associated with family member involvement in diabetes care. Similar results were found for worries about nocturnal events.
CONCLUSION: Worries about hypoglycemia were common in family members and were associated with suboptimal diabetes support. This issue therefore deserves increased clinician attention.