Psychosocial, Medical, and Demographic Variables Associated with Parent Mealtime Behavior in Young Children Recently Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2023 Feb-Mar;44(2):e111-e118. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000001150. Epub 2022 Nov 30.


Objective: Managing young children's mealtime concerns can be challenging after type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis because of developmental factors and diabetes management demands. To identify potential intervention targets, we evaluated medical, psychosocial, and demographic factors in relation to parents' engagement in problem mealtime behaviors (e.g., pressure to eat, restriction).

Method: Parents (N = 157) of young children (age 1-6 years) reported on psychosocial variables (parent fear of hypoglycemia, family functioning, parent problem solving, and parents' problem mealtime behavior frequency and perceptions of being problematic) within 2 months after T1D diagnosis. Hierarchical regression analyses examined associations among psychosocial variables, demographics (child sex, parent race/ethnicity), child continuous glucose monitor (CGM) use, and parents' problem mealtime behaviors.

Results: Parents of children using CGMs reported parents' mealtime behaviors as more problematic than nonusers, but there were no differences for other medical or demographic variables. Models predicting parents' problem mealtime behavior frequency and problem perceptions that included psychosocial variables, demographic variables, and CGM use led to significant R 2 of 0.14 and 0.16, respectively. CGM use and parent problem solving were significantly associated with parent mealtime behaviors being perceived as more problematic.

Conclusion: Shortly after T1D diagnosis in young children, medical and parent psychosocial factors related to how frequently parents engaged in problem mealtime behaviors and the degree to which parents perceived them as problematic. Other factors may further explain the complexities of mealtime management. Considering parents' problem-solving skills and child treatment regimens may help guide interventions targeting mealtime challenges during the new diagnosis period.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Meals
  • Parents / psychology