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Illness self-concept in Type 1 diabetes: A cross-sectional view on clinical, demographic, and psychosocial correlates

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The present study assessed the centrality of one’s illness self-concept, or the degree to which chronic illness intrudes upon one’s self, in a sample of 478 18–35-year-old patients with Type 1 diabetes. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that illness self-concept centrality was a one-dimensional construct, despite the fact that three constituting components (i.e. pervasiveness, directionality, and illness self-consciousness) have been forwarded. Further, important demographic and clinical correlates of illness self-concept were identified: women, unemployed individuals, individuals with a lower educational level, and patients with an insulin pump had a more central illness self-concept. Finally, a series of correlation and regression analyses indicated that, despite the fact that illness self-concept centrality was negatively related to emotional stability, self-esteem, and diabetes integration, and positively to perceived consequences of diabetes, illness self-concept had unique predictive value over and above these variables for problem areas in diabetes and depressive symptoms. Implications and suggestions for future research are outlined.
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Keywords: Type 1 diabetes; emerging adulthood; illness self-concept; personality; self-esteem

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium 2: Diabetes Research Center, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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