Parent-Child Interactions: Their Relationship To The Management And Control Of Juvenile Diabetes

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between parent-child interactions and medical compliance and diabetic control in children with juvenile diabetes. Fifteen females and ten males between the ages of 7 and 12 years of age, who were diagnosed as having insulin-dependent diabetes, and their mothers, served as subjects for this study. For each subject the following data was collected: (1) a measure of diabetic control (Hemoglobin A(,1) test), (2) medical staff rating of medical compliance, (3) the degree of responsibility assumed by the child for his/her health care, (4) degree of parental control as assessed by a structured interview with the parents, and (5) the nature of the parent-child relationship as assessed by a direct observation of their play interactions.The results indicated that warm, positive parent-child relationships were significantly associated with better medical compliance rates (F(8,15) = 16.45; p < .01). In addition, higher levels of responsibility assumed by the children in this sample were associated with poorer metabolic control levels. However, parental control, negative parent-child interactions and child compliance to maternal commands were not predictive of either medical compliance or diabetic control.Based on these findings, the importance of the support provided by family members for good diabetic care was discussed as well as the risks involved in encouraging children to assume major responsibility for their medical condition before they are ready. Methodological concerns of the study were also addressed including the biased nature of the sample (highly compliant subjects) and the difficulties involved in obtaining accurate measures of both medical compliance and diabetic control.


Psychology, Clinical

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