Differences in family mealtime interactions between young children with type 1 diabetes and controls: implications for behavioral intervention

J Pediatr Psychol. 2008 Sep;33(8):885-93. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn026. Epub 2008 Mar 20.


Objective: We examine clinically relevant differences in family mealtime behaviors for young children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and matched controls.

Methods: One hundred and eighteen families (46% boys; M age = 5.0, SD = 1.5 years) had at least three home meals videotaped and coded for family behaviors. Analyses had adequate statistical power to detect medium effects.

Results: Parents of children with TIDM offered a higher rate and frequency of commands to eat than controls. As the meal progressed, all parents worked harder at controlling mealtimes, while children ate less. Behaviors associated with lower dietary adherence and poorer glycemic control occurred on average 9 min of a typical 19 min meal for children with TIDM.

Conclusions: When differences in family mealtime behaviors have been found in other pediatric groups (e.g., cystic fibrosis), the results have directly informed the development of effective interventions. The clinically relevant results of this study can be used to inform interventions for young children with TIDM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diet, Diabetic / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood / blood
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood / diet therapy*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance / psychology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin