OBJECTIVE: Several characteristics of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) may affect school achievements and the level of education of individuals with early onset of the disease. Evidence from earlier research showed that a childhood onset of T1DM has a negative impact on schooling among children born in the 1970s and early 1980s. Over the last decades, the management and treatment of T1DM has improved rapidly in several aspects. Additionally, the Swedish grading system changed in the late 1990s. The aim of this study is to investigate if there is an impact of T1DM on educational achievements among children born during the 1980s and early 1990s.
DATA AND METHOD: The study is based on data from the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register (SCDR) in which Swedish incident cases of T1DM, younger than 15 years, have been reported since 1977. The SCDR, a case-control database, has been linked to several national population registers providing a rich set of variables for the analysis. We analyze the impact of T1DM on final school grades from compulsory and upper secondary school using two approaches: linear regression for estimating the conditional effect, and matching to estimate the average effect within the diabetes group.
RESULTS: The main results from the study indicate slightly lower grades in both compulsory and upper secondary school among children born and diagnosed with T1DM after 1979. The effect was small but significant using both regression and matching.
CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the impact of T1DM on school achievements among individuals that are born during the 1980s and afterwards and have, throughout their childhood, had access to many of the essential treatment improvements seen over the last decades. The results, in line with findings from earlier research, show a small negative impact of the disease among children completing school during 1998-2010.