Original Paper

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 566-573

First online:

Self-Reported Discrimination, Diabetes Distress, and Continuous Blood Glucose in Women with Type 2 Diabetes

  • Julie A. WagnerAffiliated withDivision of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, MC3910, University of Connecticut Health Center Email author 
  • , Howard TennenAffiliated withDepartment of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • , Richard FeinnAffiliated withQuinnipiac University
  • , Chandra Y. OsbornAffiliated withDepartments of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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We investigated whether self-reported racial discrimination was associated with continuous glucose levels and variability in individuals with diabetes, and whether diabetes distress mediated these associations. Seventy-four Black and White women with type 2 diabetes completed the Experience of Discrimination scale, a measure of lifetime racial discrimination, and the Problem Areas in Diabetes, a measure of diabetes distress. Participants wore a continuous glucose monitor for 24 h after 8 h of fasting, a standard meal, and a 4-h run in period. Higher discrimination predicted higher continuous mean glucose and higher standard deviation of glucose. For both mean and standard deviation of glucose, a race × discrimination interaction indicated a stronger relationship between discrimination and glucose for Whites than for Blacks. Diabetes distress mediated the discrimination–mean glucose relationship. Whites who report discrimination may be uniquely sensitive to distress. These preliminary findings suggest that racial discrimination adversely affects glucose control in women with diabetes, and does so indirectly through diabetes distress. Diabetes distress may be an important therapeutic target to reduce the ill effects of racial discrimination in persons with diabetes.


Diabetes Glucose Women Discrimination Racism Diabetes distress