In recent years, the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has dramatically increased, imposing a heavy financial burden on society and individuals. The most cost-effective way to control diabetes is diabetes self-management, which depends on patients' executive functions (EFs). However, the level of EFs among patients with T2DM varies greatly. In addition to diabetes-related factors contributing to a decline in EFs, trait impulsivity as a relatively stable personality trait may explicate individual differences in EFs. The objective of this study was to verify the mediating effect of negative emotions on the relationship between trait impulsivity and EFs among patients with T2DM in China.
A total of 305 patients with T2DM were enrolled consecutively from the endocrinology departments of three tertiary hospitals in China using convenience sampling. The participants completed the Sociodemographic Questionnaire, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Brief (BIS-Brief), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales with 21 items (DASS-21), and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult (BRIEF-A) version. A structural equation modeling was used to verify the mediating effect of negative emotions on the relationship between trait impulsivity and EFs.
A total of 32.46% of the participants experienced at least one aspect of daily EF decline. The mediating effect of trait impulsivity on the Behavioral Regulation Index (BRI) of EFs through negative emotions was significant, accounting for 29.57% of the total effect. The mediating effect of trait impulsivity on the Metacognitive Index (MI) of EFs through negative emotions was significant, accounting for 31.67% of the total effect.
Trait impulsivity can positively predict EF decline, which can be alleviated by improving the negative emotions of patients with T2DM. Future research exploring interventions to improve the EFs of patients with T2DM should therefore consider their trait impulsivity and negative emotions.