Diabetes-specific family conflict and psychological distress in paediatric Type 1 diabetes

Diabet Med. 2009 Sep;26(9):908-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2009.02794.x.


Aims: Diabetes-specific family conflict is associated with suboptimal adherence and glycaemic control. Little is known about the individual and family factors associated with diabetes-specific family conflict. The purpose of this study was to examine whether background factors (e.g. age, gender), diabetes variables (e.g. duration of diabetes, adherence, glycaemic control) and psychological distress (i.e. depression and anxiety) in parents and children and adolescents were associated with diabetes-specific family conflict.

Methods: Participants were 187 children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes and their parents. Study measures assessed diabetes-specific family conflict, youth depression and parent depression and anxiety. Demographic and disease-specific data (adherence, glycaemic control) were also collected.

Results: Findings suggested a close link between psychological distress in parents and children and adolescents and reports of increased diabetes-specific family conflict. In the presence of suboptimal glycaemic control, children and adolescents and parents reported more family conflict. Adherence was not significantly associated with family conflict.

Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of considering the impact of individual psychological functioning on family conflict and also suggests a bidirectional relationship between conflict and glycaemic control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Family Conflict / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose