To compare health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in subjects with and without self-reported diabetes in a representative sample of the Polish general adult population.

Material and methods:
Members of the general Polish population, selected with multi-stage stratified sampling, filled in the Short Form-12 (SF-12) questionnaire and answered a question about the diagnosis of diabetes. We estimated four types of outcomes: eight domain scores, physical component (PCS-12) and mental component (MCS-12) summaries, and a measure of overall health status weighted according to societal health preferences – SF-6D. We used multiple linear regression to examine the associations of sociodemographic characteristics with SF-12 summary indices.

Among 2938 respondents with complete SF-12 data, the prevalence of self-reported diabetes amounted to 8.5% (95%CI 7.5-9.6). Respondents with diabetes differed significantly from non-diabetic subjects in all SF-12 dimensions, with the most significant differences in physical functioning, general health, role physical and bodily pain (differences of means 31.9, 24.9, 24.1 and 22.3 points, respectively). Analysis across age groups showed that diabetes was associated with a mean decrease in PCS-12 and MCS-12 by 4.6 and 1.4 points, respectively. Female sex, advanced age, low education levels and treatment with insulin were independently associated with the impaired physical health of respondents with diabetes.

We provided a consistent description of HRQoL, measured using the SF-12 questionnaire, in subjects with self-reported diabetes and respondents without diabetes in a nationally representative sample of Polish adults. Identifying factors independently associated with worse HRQoL in respondents with diabetes may help healthcare providers target intervention programs more effectively.