Psychosocial stress in South African patients with type 2 diabetes

Samantha Ramkisson, Basil J. Pillay, Ben Sartorius


Objective: Diabetes mellitus is considered an emotionally and behaviourally demanding condition which adds to the stress of a patient’s daily living. There is a paucity of literature in South Africa regarding stress and diabetes. This study therefore aims to identify the areas and contributory factors of psychosocial stress in South African patients with diabetes.

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted at two public facilities and five private medical practices on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Questionnaire on Stress in Diabetes – Revised was administered to 401 participants.

Results: Eighteen percent of the sample reported having extreme psychosocial stress. Depression, physical complaints and self-medication/diet were the main areas which contributed to high psychosocial stress. Factors that also contributed to high levels of psychosocial stress were low educational level, unemployment, female gender, attending the public sector and high HbA1c levels.

Conclusion: Psychosocial stress affects metabolic control in patients with diabetes, thereby increasing the risks of long-term complications.


stress; adults; type 2 diabetes; metabolic control

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Submitted: 29 August 2016
Published: 17 November 2016

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Journal of Insulin Resistance    |    ISSN: 2412-2785 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2519-7533 (ONLINE)