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Small Interventions for Big Change: Brief Strategies for Distress and Self-Management Amongst Youth with Type 1 Diabetes


Purpose of Review

Diabetes self-management and diabetes distress are complex processes implicated in glycemic control and other health outcomes for youth with type 1 diabetes. Growing integration of medical and behavioral care provides opportunities for brief psychosocial interventions during routine diabetes care. This review focuses on interventions for self-management and diabetes distress that can be delivered alongside usual medical care or via a single-patient encounter.

Recent Findings

Recent research underscores the potential of brief interventions delivered by both medical providers and integrated behavioral health professionals, but little is known regarding the comparative effectiveness of different interventions or the factors that impact dissemination and implementation.


This article asserts that brevity is critical to maximizing the reach, scalability, and impact of psychosocial interventions for youth with type 1 diabetes. The authors review existing evidence for brief interventions, describe several untested clinical strategies, and make recommendations for accelerating the translational study of brief interventions.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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This manuscript was supported by grant number K12 HS022981 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (for ARR).

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Correspondence to Andrew R. Riley.

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Barry-Menkhaus, S.A., Wagner, D.V. & Riley, A.R. Small Interventions for Big Change: Brief Strategies for Distress and Self-Management Amongst Youth with Type 1 Diabetes. Curr Diab Rep 20, 3 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-020-1290-7

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  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Youth
  • Diabetes distress
  • Self-management
  • Adherence
  • Brief intervention