Correlates of fear of hypoglycemia among patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus in outpatient hospitals in Zambia

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Background: Severe hypoglycemia is a burdensome complication of diabetes mellitus that can induce fear of hypoglycemia and contribute to suboptimal glycemic control. The challenge is to achieve and maintain adequate glycemic control while avoiding episodes of severe hypoglycemia. The purpose of the study was to determine how common fear of hypoglycemia was in Zambian out-patients with diabetes and also to explore correlates of fear of hypoglycemia.

Methods: One hundred fifty-seven individuals with types 1 and 2 diabetes participated in the study. Fear of Hypoglycemia Scale, Diabetes Self-Care Inventory, Problem Areas in Diabetes, and the Major Depression Inventory were completed. Multiple linear regression models were computed to assess the association between fear of hypoglycemia and psychological factors.

Results: About 19% [16.3% type 1 and 12.6% type 2] of individuals with diabetes based on item endorsement expressed fear of hypoglycemia especially among individuals with type 1 diabetes. After controlling for demographic variables, diabetes self-care (ß = 0.24, p < 0.05), and diabetes specific distress (ß = 0.41, p < 0.001) were associated with fear of hypoglycemia.

Conclusion: Fear of hypoglycemia was common and was positively associated with diabetes specific emotional distress and diabetes self-care. Interventions to avert fear of hypoglycemia are needed while optimizing glycemic control through managing diabetes care and emotion distress in individuals with diabetes.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries