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Aussies urged to dig deep in support of research to reduce mental health strain on those with type 1 diabetes

JDRF
JDRF
June 10, 2021
  • Australians living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are disproportionately affected by a psychological phenomenon called decision fatigue, which hinders their ability to make vital decisions – placing them at greater risk of life-threatening complications such as heart attack and kidney disease.1
  • People living with T1D must make an extra 180 decisions every day compared to the average person – and these are often decisions that are critical to their health and wellbeing.2
  • Decision fatigue is exacerbating mental health issues with over half of the T1D community indicating they feel stressed and anxious daily.3
  • T1D peak body, JDRF, is urging Australians to support T1D research by donating, in the hope to alleviate the burden of living with T1D and one day cure the disease altogether.

10 JUNE 2021, SYDNEY: New research released today reveals Australians living with or caring for someone with T1D, are disproportionately suffering from ‘decision fatigue’ – a psychological phenomenon that leaves two thirds feeling sad (67%), overwhelmed (66%), burnt-out (62%) and easily frustrated (63%).3

“Decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make good decisions. In other words, the more decisions you need to make, the worse you’re going to be at weighing all the options and making an educated, research-backed choice” said Clinical Psychologist, Dr Rosalyn Taylor.

Research commissioned by JDRF found that four in 10 people (42%) living with or caring for someone with T1D admit to experiencing decision fatigue at the end of every day. Comparatively, only one in 10 (13%) without T1D feel this way.3

“The reasoning as to why the T1D community experiences decision fatigue more frequently is twofold. Firstly, they make decisions about their health far more frequently than those without the condition, and secondly, the outcomes of those decisions can be potentially life threatening” said Clinical Psychologist, Dr Rosalyn Taylor.

If T1D is not constantly monitored and managed people are at immediate risk of hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia where blood glucose levels are too low or too high respectively, both of which can be potentially fatal. 1 Those in the T1D community who experience decision fatigue are more likely to be at risk of these immediate complications.

In addition to the physical complications, mental health issues are exacerbated in people living with T1D. New research shows that people are 5 times more likely to suffer from depression and 1.8 times more likely to suffer anxiety if they have T1D.4

Over half of Australians living with or caring for someone with T1D indicate they often (41%) or always (15%) feel stressed or anxious about how many decisions they must make every day.3 These sobering figures are more than halved for those living without a chronic health condition with just 15% experiencing stress or anxiety often and an even smaller 4% always.3

Furthermore, the research shows that 31% of those living with or caring for someone with T1D make decisions based on their health multiple times per hour, and a further 40% make these decisions once an hour.3 For those without T1D, or any other chronic condition, these statistics are considerably less with only 4% making health decisions multiple times per day and 3% hourly.3

JDRF Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilson OAM said: “As a research organisation, JDRF are committed to alleviating the burden that living with T1D places on people both physically and mentally.”

“JDRF is the leading supporter of type 1 diabetes research in the world, investing more than $280 million in Australian T1D research since its inception. JDRF has been part of every major breakthrough in T1D care in the past 45 years, including embedding CGM and insulin pump technology as a new standard of care, developing new therapies to treat common T1D complications, and setting up world-first screening programs for earlier detection of T1D. With generous donations, JDRF can continue to pioneer this breakthrough research and one day hope to cure T1D.”

To make a donation to support JDRF’s vision of a world without type 1 diabetes, click here.

About the survey

The research was commissioned by JDRF and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,144 Australians who have or care for a person with type 1 diabetes and 1,091 without. The surveys were conducted online between 3 – 7 April 2021.

References

  1. Diabetes NSW. Complications of diabetes. Available online: https://diabetesnsw.com.au/living-with-diabetes/complications-of-diabetes/ [last accessed May 2021]
  2. Stanford University, 2014. New research shows how to keep diabetics safer during sleep. Available online: https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2014/05/08/new-research-keeps-diabetics-safer-during-sleep/ [last accessed May 2021]
  3. Lonergan Foundation, 2020. JDRF Australia Study Report – Insights into type 1 diabetes and decision fatigue
  4. Accenture, 2021. JDRF Australia report – Economic Cost of Type 1 Diabetes in Australia

JDRF
JDRF