Objective: Previous research has established that adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D) experience more anxiety symptoms than their healthy peers and are also more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. Research in cognitive psychology has found that selective attention favouring the processing of threatening information causally contributes to elevated levels of anxiety; however, this process has not been investigated in the context of T1D. The current study examined whether selective attention for threatening information contributes to the association between anxiety and glycaemic management in adolescents with T1D.
Methods: Participants completed a dot-probe task to assess selective attention for diabetes-related threatening information and general non-diabetes-related threatening information and we examined the associations between these measures and measures of HbA1c and anxiety.
Results: Findings suggest that individual differences in anxiety vulnerability do not predict HbA1c alongside the attentional bias for threatening information.
Conclusions: The attentional bias for threatening information makes a contribution to the relationship between anxiety and glycaemic management and may represent a target for therapeutic intervention to both reduce anxiety and improve glycaemic management.