Momentary predictors of insulin restriction among adults with type 1 diabetes and eating disorder symptomatology

Rhonda M. Merwin, Natalia O. Dmitrieva, Lisa K. Honeycutt, Ashley A. Moskovich, James D. Lane, Nancy L. Zucker, Richard S. Surwit, Mark Feinglos, Jennifer Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Individuals with type 1 diabetes who restrict insulin to control weight are at high risk for diabetes-related complications and premature death. However, little is known about this behavior or how to effectively intervene. The aimof the current study was to identify predictors of insulin restriction in the natural environment that might inform new treatment directions. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Eighty-three adults with type 1 diabetes and a range of eating disorder symptomatology completed 3 days of ecological momentary assessment. Participants reported emotions, eating, and insulin dosing throughout the day using their cellular telephone. Linear mixed models were used to estimate the effects of heightened negative affect (e.g., anxiety) before eating and characteristics of the eating episode (e.g., eating a large amount of food) on the risk of insulin restriction. RESULTS Individuals who reported greater-than-average negative affect (general negative affect and negative affect specifically about diabetes) during the study period were more likely to restrict insulin. Momentary increases in anxiety/nervousness and guilt/disgust with self before eating (relative to an individual's typical level) further increased the odds of restricting insulin at the upcoming meal. Insulin restriction was more likely when individuals reported that they broke a dietary rule (e.g., "no desserts"). CONCLUSIONS Results suggest that insulin restriction might be decreased by helping patients with type 1 diabetes respond effectively to heightened negative affect (e.g., anxiety, guilt) and encouraging patients to take a less rigid, punitive approach to diabetes management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2025-2032
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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