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15.12.2020 | Original Research | Ausgabe 1/2021 Open Access

Diabetes Therapy 1/2021

Personality Traits, Metabolic Control and the Use of Insulin Pump Functions in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: An Observational Single-Visit Study

Diabetes Therapy > Ausgabe 1/2021
Agnieszka Niemiec, Agata Juruć, Piotr Molęda, Krzysztof Safranow, Lilianna Majkowska



While a few studies have assessed the association between personality and metabolic outcomes in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1DM), there have been none in adults or in subjects treated with insulin pumps, and hypoglycaemic episodes have not been considered in these studies. The aim of this observational single-visit study was to assess the association between personality traits and metabolic control, hypoglycaemic episodes and insulin pump use in adult T1DM patients.


Data were obtained from 52 adults with T1DM treated in a tertiary care centre (no complications or comorbidities; aged 27 ± 8 years; diabetes duration of 12.8 ± 6.8 years; treated with insulin pumps for 6.3 ± 0.4 years). “Big Five” personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness) were assessed using the NEO-Five Factor Inventory questionnaire. Data on HbA1c, blood glucose levels, frequency of glucose testing, the number of hypoglycaemic episodes (< 3.9 mmol/l), basal and prandial insulin doses, and the number and types of boluses in the last 14 days were obtained from the insulin pumps and glucometers.


The mean levels of the assessed parameters were: HbA1c 7.2 ± 1.2% (55.0 ± 13.1 mmol/mol), episodes of hypoglycaemia 7.0 (3.00–9.75) and glucose tests per day 7.3 ± 3.9. All personality traits showed average intensity. None of the traits were associated with HbA1c, glycaemia, number of glucose tests, or number or kind of insulin boluses. Conscientiousness was the only factor associated with the incidence of hypoglycaemia in both univariate (r =  + 0.46, p < 0.001) and multivariate (β =  + 0.41, p < 0.001) analyses.


Despite results reported for children and adolescents, personality traits of adult patients with T1DM were not essential for metabolic control assessed by HbA1c or for the use of insulin pump functions; however, higher conscientiousness may be related to more frequent hypoglycaemic episodes. Extrinsic factors should be searched as more relevant for metabolic control and proper use of very expensive insulin pump therapy.
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