Psychosocial health and diabetes

​The research team explores psychosocial aspects of diabetes and develops research-based psychosocial support for people with diabetes in different settings. The team's research is conducted in close partnership with people with diabetes and professional practice.

The research field 

Substantial evidence exists that diabetes can have a significant negative impact on quality of life. People with diabetes experience an increased prevalence of a range of psychosocial problems, including diabetes-specific distress, depression, anxiety and disordered eating. Providing psychosocial support for people with diabetes is crucial to improve the intertwined elements of psychological well-being, diabetes self-management and biomedical outcomes, such as HbA1c.

 Although many people with diabetes experience psychosocial problems, psychosocial support is not systematically provided as part of diabetes care. Likewise, methods to prevent psychosocial problems, such as facilitating discussions about the emotional side of diabetes in clinical encounters and other settings, are lacking. Research on the implementation of psychosocial support in routine diabetes care and other settings, including the feasibility and effect of multifaceted approaches for this, is needed.

Strategic focus 

Our research focuses on exploring psychosocial aspects of diabetes and developing research-based psychosocial support for and with people with diabetes in different settings. We want to advance the knowledge about and possibilities for dissemination of relevant and effective ways for psychosocial support to people with diabetes in clinical encounters and everyday life. The aim is to contribute to achieving the best possible quality of life for people with diabetes.

Our research focuses on initiatives to enhance psychosocial health and support in people with diabetes in the following areas: diabetes distress, integration of psychosocial support in clinical encounters, diabetes and work life, diabetes technology, diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in adulthood, peer support, diabetes stigma, disordered eating and participation in screening programs.

The primary target group is adults with diabetes, among others including adults with diabetes distress and the mentally vulnerable. We focus on diabetes in adulthood with a life course approach including critical time periods with regards to psychosocial support such as the time of diagnosis, when changes in work or everyday life occur or when new treatment is introduced. Our research also targets the social network of people with diabetes including health care professionals, social workers, employers, relatives and families. 

We conduct our research and develop methods in collaboration with people with diabetes and professional practice. Overall, our research includes needs assessment, intervention development, evaluation research and we use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. Some of these are surveys and interviews with a focus on psychosocial aspects of diabetes and diabetes management in everyday life, workshops in the framework of design-based research and feasibility and effect studies including realistic evaluation.

Research projects

  • A nurse-led group intervention to reduce diabetes distress in adults with type 1- diabetes
  • A feasibility study to test an intervention to support psychological and social adaptation in adults with new onset type 1 diabetes. 
  • Translation and test of T1-DDS
  • Psychosocial support in routine consultations (UPRO)
  • Peer Support in Diabetes
  • Living with Continuous Glucose Monitoring – A phenomenological study of the social and emotional aspects of adopting novel medical technologies among people with type 2 diabetes in Denmark
  • Barriers and facilitators of attending diabetic retinopathy screening among people with type 2 diabetes
  • Diabetes and disordered eating: How can we support and treat people with diabetes and disordered eating  
  • Diabetes related work distress in people with type 1 diabetes in Denmark and Finland. 
  • DIA-liv SDCC (2019-2021): Work Life Expectancies, retention and challenges among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 
  • Project DiaJOB (2021): Development and testing of a guide and dialoguetools to manage type 1 diabetes at work 
  • COVID-19 and Diabetes: psychosocial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in people with diabetes 
  • DEPSY (i cooperation with Education and Clincial Research

Presentation of staff

Lene Eide Joensen, Senior researcher
Astrid Andrea Schultz, PhD.-student
Gabriela Byskov Petersen, PhD.-student
Kristoffer Panduro Madsen, PhD.-student
Mette Andersen Nexø, Researcher
Mette Jarne Due-Christensen, Post doc.
Pil Lindgreen, Post doc.
Vibeke Steno, Post doc.
Freja Bang Mikkelsen, student assistant
Lina Sletbjerg Skov, student assistant
Laura Meldgård, student assistant
Signe Hellung Schønning, student assistant

Responsible editor