Monetary Reinforcement for Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Among Young People With Type 1 Diabetes: Evaluating Effects on Psychosocial Functioning

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Aims: To explore the auxiliary psychosocial effects of a monetary reinforcement intervention targeting self-monitoring of blood glucose among young people with Type 1 diabetes. Methods: Sixty young people with Type 1 diabetes, HbA1c concentrations between 58 and 119 mmol/mol (7.5–13.0%), and average self-monitoring of blood glucose <4 times per day were randomized to either enhanced usual care or a 24-week intervention of monetary rewards for self-monitoring of blood glucose and associated behaviours (e.g. uploading glucose meters). Data were collected from the young people and their parents at baseline, during the intervention (6, 12 and 24 weeks) and after the intervention (36 weeks). Results: Linear mixed models were used to evaluate the intervention effects on psychosocial outcomes, adjusting for corresponding baseline levels and potential moderation by baseline level. The intervention reduced diabetes distress at week 6 among young people who had average and high baseline distress. It also reduced diabetes distress at weeks 12 and 24 among those with low baseline distress. The intervention also reduced young person-reported diabetes-related family conflict and diabetes-related interference among those with high baseline scores in these areas; however, the intervention worsened young person-reported diabetes interference among those with low baseline interference. Effects were medium-sized and time-limited. Conclusions: Findings indicate predominantly positive impacts of monetary reinforcement interventions on psychosocial outcomes, although effects varied by outcome and time point. Whereas early improvements in diabetes distress were observed for all who received the intervention, improvements in other areas varied according to the level of psychosocial challenge at baseline. Incorporating psychosocial interventions may bolster and maintain effects over time.