Diabetes and Personality

A person’s personality may or may not be modifiable, but an understanding of the relationship between an aspect of personality and adherence to diabetes management plan is quite useful.  This can allow modifications to education, counselling methods and behavioural therapy.
More than one study use a measure called the NEO Personality Inventory with personality dimensions such as neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, openness to experience, and the respective facets.
Both among persons with type 2 diabetes and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, conscientiousness was associated with better glycaemic control. Neuroticism is usually associated with guilt, decreased coping abilities with stressors but surprisingly neuroticism was also associated with better glycaemic control. Further, a high level of altruism was linked to less successful control of blood glucose.
Do persons who care more about the needs of others neglect their own self-care? Does worry and useful “emotional distress” predict increased motivation? Studies are ongoing.
Whatever your personality, your diabetes physician can work with you.

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