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© 2016 The Author(s). Background: In South Africa, the prevalence rate of diabetes is 9.27%, with an estimated 2.6 million people living with the disease. Diabetes-related distress has been described as encompassing the patient's concerns about the self-management of diabetes, perception of support, emotional burden and access to quality health care. There has been little or no research done in South Africa regarding diabetes-related distress. Objectives: The aim of this paper was: (1) to identify the level of diabetes-related distress in a cohort of diabetes type 2 patients in KwaZulu-Natal and (2) to identify the factors that contribute to diabetes-related distress. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at two public facilities and five private medical practices on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Diabetes Distress Scale was administered, together with a demographic questionnaire, to 401 participants. Results: In total, 44% of the sample reported having moderate to high levels of distress. The mean scores of the Emotional Burden dimension (M = 2.6; SD = 1.42) and the Regimen Distress dimension (M = 2.33; SD = 1.29) suggested moderate levels of distress. Factors that significantly contributed to high levels of distress were younger age, high HbA1C levels, female gender, attending the public health sector, unemployment and being a person of colour. Conclusion: Healthcare providers need to pay particular attention to the psychological needs of the patient, which impact on the medical outcomes of the disease.

Original publication





Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa

Publication Date





32 - 36