Nighttime caregiving behaviors among parents of young children with Type 1 diabetes: associations with illness characteristics and parent functioning

Fam Syst Health. 2009 Mar;27(1):28-38. doi: 10.1037/a0014770.


Parents of young children with Type 1 diabetes describe daily management as relentless. Nighttime caregiving, including nocturnal blood glucose monitoring (NBGM), occurs and may increase parents' anxiety and stress. The goal of this study was to examine the frequency of NBGM among parents of young children with Type 1 diabetes, and to identify children's illness characteristics and parents' fear of hypoglycemia, anxiety, and parenting stress associated with nighttime monitoring. Parents (N = 71) of children with Type 1 diabetes ages 2 to 6 completed questionnaires to assess frequency of NBGM, illness characteristics and health outcomes, and parent concern. Approximately one third of parents reported regularly monitoring their child's blood glucose level after their child was asleep. Frequency of NBGM was positively associated with basal-bolus regimen, longer illness duration, and increased parent-reported anxiety and parenting stress (p < .05). NBGM is prevalent among parents of young children with Type 1 diabetes, suggesting that parents' nighttime caregiving practices and resulting sleep disruption should be routinely addressed in clinical practice. Further investigations of NBGM, child health outcomes, and parent quality of life are warranted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose