Family therapy in poorly controlled juvenile IDDM: effects on diabetic control, self-evaluation and behavioural symptoms

Acta Paediatr. 1994 Mar;83(3):285-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1994.tb18096.x.


Diabetic control, behavioural symptoms and self-evaluation were assessed in 25 children with IDDM who were in poor metabolic control (P group), before and subsequent to one of two treatment conditions: family therapy and conventional treatment (C). In addition, data were collected from 12 patients in optimal control (O group). Prior to treatment the patients in poor control were rated higher than those in the O group for symptoms indicating somatization and internalization of conflict and showed a gloomier self-image. The O group patients had fewer behavioural symptoms and a more positive self-image than non-diabetic reference groups. Diabetic control improved after family therapy only. Furthermore, the family therapy group improved on a combined measure of behavioural symptoms and one aspect of self-evaluation (relations to parents and family). The results suggest that IDDM may either interfere with or foster the child's development towards autonomy, depending on family interaction patterns which affect the child's behaviour and self-esteem. Family therapy is a treatment option which can mediate improved diabetic control by changing family relationships to allow for a better balance between parental and self-care of the child with poorly controlled IDDM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child Development
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Family Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Self Care
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires