Stressful life events, parental psychosocial factors, and glycemic management in school-aged children during the 1 year follow-up of new-onset type 1 diabetes.

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DOI: 10.1111/pedi.13012; PMCID: PMC7401759


OBJECTIVE: To monitor occurrence of stressful life events, assess correlations with family functioning and parental psychosocial measures, and examine the impact of stressful life events on diabetes management in the first year after diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in children using a mixed methods design.

METHODS: In a prospective study of 5- to 9-year-olds with recent-onset T1D (mean age 7.4 ± 1.3 years, T1D duration 4.7 ± 3.3 months), we monitored glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), income, job status, family health, and marital status at baseline and every 3 months up to 1 year. We measured coping, parental depression, and diabetes family conflict at baseline.

RESULTS: Of 128 families, 53.9% (n = 69) reported 1+ stressful event, with 25.8% reporting income change (n = 33) during this period, 23.4% additional family health changes (n = 30), 22.7% job changes (n = 29), 21.9% changes in child's school (n = 28), and 3.9% changes in marital status (n = 5). Baseline active avoidance coping, parental depression, and diabetes family conflict correlated with a higher number of stressful life events (r = 0.239, P < .01; r = 0.197, P < .05; r = 0.225, P < .01, respectively). There were also cross-sectional associations between HbA1c and income decrease, school change, and job change at various time points in the study.

CONCLUSIONS: Families can experience concurrent life stressors during the first year of T1D, which relate to coping, depression, and conflict. Consistent with existing literature, stressful life events relate to glycemic management. Future research should explore the individual's or parent's perception of stress and ways that diabetes centers can effectively assist families of youth with T1D and concurrent life stressors.

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Pediatric diabetes





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coping; parental depression; pediatric; stressful life events; type 1 diabetes

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