July 15, 2016

Work together to control diabetes

Parenting behaviors may be an important target for improving outcomes in adolescents with diabetes.


Parenting style – collaborative versus overinvolved – impacts long-term glucose control and psychological outcomes in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes, Vanderbilt researchers reported this month in the journal Health Psychology.

Sarah Jaser, Ph.D., and colleagues evaluated youth (10 to 16 years old) with Type 1 diabetes and their mothers over a one-year period. They assessed symptoms of anxiety and depression from self-report, obtained measures of glucose control (HbA1c levels) from medical records, and assessed parenting behaviors using an observational coding system.

The researchers found that higher levels of collaborative parenting were related to significantly lower HbA1c levels/better glycemic control and that higher levels of intrusive, overinvolved parenting were related to greater child depressive symptoms.

Adolescence is associated with deteriorating glycemic control and with increased risk for psychological problems, especially depression. The current findings suggest that parenting behaviors may be an important target for future intervention to improve outcomes in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.

This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK088454, RR024139).

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