Objective: To compare compliance, psychiatric disorders, and family support in children with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) hospitalized with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and clinic controls.
Method: Twenty-five youths hospitalized with DKA and 25 matched outpatient subjects with IDDM with no history of DKA during the preceding year were assessed cross-sectionally, using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, measures of general and diabetes-specific family functioning, and measures of self-esteem and social competence. Levels of glycosylated hemoglobin and information about compliance with the treatment regimen were obtained.
Results: A significantly higher number of psychiatric disorders was observed in the hospitalized children, with 88% meeting criteria for at least one disorder (versus 28% of controls). Self-esteem and social competence were lower in the hospitalized group, and their families scored lower on problem-solving and diabetes-specific "warmth-caring."
Conclusions: Children with recurrent DKA may be at greater risk of associated psychopathology than diabetic controls with no such history. DKA children's reports of noncompliance may be more sensitive than their parents' reports, and their families may lack warm, caring parent-child relationships.