School attendance in children with Type 1 diabetes

Diabet Med. 2005 Apr;22(4):421-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01441.x.


Aims: To determine whether children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) miss more school than their non-DM siblings and peers and to identify factors associated with school absenteeism in children with DM.

Methods: School absenteeism data for the 2000-01 school year were obtained for 78 children with DM, 38 non-DM siblings and 118,269 age-matched peers in Toronto, Ontario. Questionnaires and hospital records were utilized to evaluate child-, family- and diabetes-related factors associated with school absenteeism in children with DM.

Results: Children with DM missed only slightly, albeit significantly more school than both their non-DM siblings (mean +/-sd: 10.9 +/- 8.9 vs. 8.1 +/- 8.1 days, P < 0.001) and peers (median: 8.8 vs. 5.5 days, P = 0.0005). A multiple regression analysis indicated that school absenteeism in children with DM was associated with their parents' attitudes towards school attendance (P = 0.002), poorer metabolic control (P = 0.006), shorter disease duration (P = 0.006) and a lack of aggressive behaviour (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: With current management strategies, near normal school attendance is a reasonable goal for all children with DM and should be strongly encouraged by parents, educators and health care professionals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario
  • Parents / psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data*