Parents’ representations and glycemic control among adolescents with type 1 diabetes
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Parents of adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) experience major challenges as they cope with the adolescent-child disease. The current research investigated maternal and paternal representations of parents of adolescents diagnosed with T1DM, specifically, the association between parental representations and adolescents’ glycemic control (A1C level).
Seventy-five mothers and fathers of adolescents (13–18 years of age) diagnosed with T1DM (disease onset ≥ 12 months) were recruited from a large medical center in Israel. Data were gathered from a demographic questionnaire, a blood test for A1C level, and the Parenting Representations Interview.
No significant correlations were found between A1C level and maternal representations or balanced narrative. However, for fathers, a negative correlation was found between A1C level and paternal representations of the self, representations of the child, and positive relationships; and between A1C level and balanced narrative.
The association found between paternal positive representations and glycemic control and the lack of any significance association within mothers point to the differences between motherhood and fatherhood in the context of an adolescent with T1DM. Therefore, fathers should be addressed as significant caregivers in treatment at the clinical practice.
KeywordsParenting representation Type 1 diabetes Adolescents A1C
Special thanks to the adolescents and their parents who participated in the study, and to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Israel; without them, the study would not have been possible.
Compliance with ethical standards
There was no funding for the current research, and no conflict of interest. This research involves human participants. Hence, a Helsinki committee at a large medical center approved the study (titled: “The health and adjustment of adolescents with type 1 diabetes,” protocol number 2357), and all participants signed informed consent forms to confirm their participation. Families were informed that their anonymity would be preserved throughout the study, that the data collected would be used for research purposes only, and that their names would remain confidential. They were also assured that they had the right to discontinue their participation in the study at any time.
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