Longitudinal studies indicate that 20% of paediatric patients account for 80% of all admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The frequency of DKA peaks during adolescence and, although individuals generally go into remission, they may continue to have bouts of recurrent DKA in adulthood. The evidence for insulin omission being the behavioural precursor to recurrent DKA is reviewed and discussed. Thereafter the range of possible psychosocial causes is explored and the evidence for each discussed. Approaches to assessing the individual and their family to identify aetiology and therefore appropriate intervention are considered and treatment options reviewed. Finally, the paper examines potential risk factors for recurrent DKA, possible strategies for identifying these early and how to use these assessments to prevent subsequent recurrent DKA.