Psychiatric disorders in emerging adults with diabetes transitioning to adult care: a retrospective cohort study



During transition from paediatric to adult diabetes care, adolescents with diabetes are at increased risk of psychiatric disorders compared with those without diabetes. Prolonged gaps between the last paediatric and first adult diabetes care visit are associated with higher perceived stress and lower life satisfaction. We assessed the effect of a gap (>180 days) in establishing adult diabetes care on the risk of psychiatric disorders and determined other risk factors associated with psychiatric disorders during the transfer to adult care.


Using provincial health administrative databases, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of individuals from Québec, Canada, diagnosed with diabetes between ages 1 and 15 years in 1997–2015. These individuals were followed from 6 months after their last paediatric visit until age 25 years. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazard models to determine the association of gap in care with psychiatric disorders risk.


Among 1772 youth with diabetes, 740 (42%) had a gap in care. There was a non‐statistically significant association between gap in care and mood disorders diagnosed in the emergency department or hospital (hazard ratio [HR] 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.92, 2.07]). Older age at transfer, recent birth year and higher number of all‐cause emergency department visits in the year before transfer increased the risks of psychiatric disorders.


Prolonged gaps in care during transfer to adult care are common and may be associated with increased psychiatric disorder risk. Developmental factors associated with adolescence and emerging adulthood may further amplify this risk.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Marie-Eve Robinson

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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