King's College Study to Tackle Type 1 Diabetes Distress

King’s College London

This will help more people with type 1 diabetes to get the emotional support they need to live more happily with the condition.

d-stress team 1
D-stress research team at the programme kick off meeting 1-2 May 2024

Diabetes distress is what some people feel when they're overwhelmed by the relentlessness of diabetes. This can make it even harder to manage the condition.

There is evidence that nearly half of all adults living with type 1 diabetes experience high levels of diabetes distress. Diabetes Research Steering Groups (DRSGs) overseen by Diabetes UK listened to people with diabetes, who said that better care for diabetes distress matters to them. They also heard from care and research experts that not enough is known about spotting diabetes distress or how best to support people with type 1 who are going through it. There is currently no effective treatment for diabetes distress available on the NHS.

Professor Jackie Sturt has been awarded nearly £3m in joint funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) and Diabetes UK for a new project that will spot, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes distress. This research has the potential to transform the way diabetes distress is cared for and make it a part of everyday diabetes care. This could create a first-of-its-kind treatment in the UK to focus on the emotional aspects of living with the condition.

Professor Sturt and her team will combine the best of three existing treatments, developed and tested by researchers in the USA and Denmark, to detect, manage and prevent type 1 diabetes distress. Consulting with people with type 1 diabetes and healthcare professionals, they will then identify the aspects from existing treatments with the most potential to form a new programme called D-stress. This will be tested in a clinical trial to find out whether it can reduce diabetes distress and improve blood sugar levels and quality of life.

I am excited to be leading an impressive team of national and international experts in diabetes distress. Together we seek to develop a care pathway in the NHS to meet the everyday emotional and psychological needs of people living with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Distress is currently a priority unmet for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and we will be working with diabetes health professionals who also strongly recognise this need.

Professor Jackie Sturt, Head of Division for Care in Long Term Conditions and Professor of Behavioural Medicine in Nursing

We're thrilled to be working with the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme again, and this partnership will enable vital research into addressing type 1 diabetes distress. This funding represents a significant step forward in the ambition to improve the lives of those affected by diabetes distress, a critical priority identified by our DRSGs, providing extra support that people living with type 1 diabetes deserve.

Anna Morris, Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Partnerships at Diabetes UK

In this story

Jackie Sturt

Head of Division of Care in Long Term Conditions and Professor of Behavioural Medicine in Nursing

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