Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 566–573 | Cite as

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

  • Julie A. WagnerEmail author
  • Howard Tennen
  • Richard Feinn
  • Chandra Y. Osborn
Original Paper


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 



This study was supported by a Grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases to Dr. Wagner 5R21DK074468. Dr. Osborn is supported by NIDDK K01DK087894.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie A. Wagner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Howard Tennen
    • 2
  • Richard Feinn
    • 3
  • Chandra Y. Osborn
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, MC3910University of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Community MedicineUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Quinnipiac UniversityHamdenUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Medicine and Biomedical InformaticsVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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