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Families with children with diabetes: implications of parent stress for parent and child health.

journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2012, 00:00 authored by Vicki HelgesonVicki Helgeson, Dorothy Becker, Oscar Escobar, Linda Siminerio

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation of parent stress to parent mental health and child mental and physical health.

METHODS: We interviewed children with type 1 diabetes (n = 132; mean age 12 years) annually for 5 years and had one parent complete a questionnaire at each assessment. Parents completed measures of general life stress, stress related to caring for a child with diabetes, benefit finding, and mental health. Child outcomes were depressive symptoms, self-care behavior, and glycemic control. Multilevel modeling was used to examine concurrent and longitudinal relations.

RESULTS: Greater parent general stress and greater parent diabetes-specific stress were associated with poorer parent mental health. Overall, greater parent general stress was associated with poorer child outcomes, whereas greater parent diabetes-specific stress was associated with better child outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Families with high levels of general life stress should be identified as they are at risk for both poor parent and child health outcomes.