Psychological experience of parents of children with type 1 diabetes: a systematic mixed-studies review

Diabetes Educ. Jul-Aug 2012;38(4):562-79. doi: 10.1177/0145721712445216. Epub 2012 May 11.

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this review is to describe the prevalence of psychological distress in parents of children with type 1 diabetes (T1DM), the relationship between parental psychological distress and health outcomes, and parents' psychological experience of having a child with T1DM. Clinical and research implications are presented.

Method: A systematic mixed-studies review was undertaken to review the quantitative and qualitative research on the parental experience of having a child with T1DM. A total of 34 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review.

Results: The prevalence of parental psychological distress across all studies ranged from 10% to 74%, with an average of 33.5% of parents reporting distress at diagnosis and 19% of parents reporting distress 1 to 4 years after diagnosis. Parental psychological distress in parents of children with T1DM, regardless of how it was defined, was associated with higher child self-report of stress and depressive symptoms, more problematic child behavior, and lower child self-report of quality of life. Parental psychological distress also had negative effects on diabetes management. Themes of the qualitative synthesis indicated that parents perceived T1DM as a difficult diagnosis that contributed to significant family disruption. Adjustment occurred over time; however, ongoing stress was experienced.

Conclusions: Screening for psychological distress in parents of children with T1DM is indicated, and preventive interventions are needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • United States / epidemiology