Stressful life events as predictors of Hispanic children's risk for type-2 diabetes mellitus

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Kent Burnett - Committee Chair


The role of stressful life events, obesity, family history, and level of physical activity in the prediction of Hispanic children's risk of type 2 diabetes was assessed in relation to a two hour oral glucose tolerance test. Measures included measures of metabolic risk, the Life Experiences Checklist, the Seven-day Physical Activity Recall, body mass index, and family history of type 2 diabetes. Participants in the study were 112 Hispanic children between 5 and 10 years of age. Pearson product-moment correlations were used to assess the relationship between stress, obesity, and physical activity with insulin levels. The t test procedure was used to assess family history of type 2 diabetes and insulin levels. Multiple regression methods were used to calculate the role of stress in the prediction of elevated insulin levels and the moderator effects of obesity, physical activity, and family history on the relationship between stress and elevated insulin levels. A positive relationship was found between obesity and insulin levels. Obesity was found to be predictive of measures of metabolic risk. Physical activity was found to moderate the relationship between stress and insulin resistance. A direct relationship between stress and measures of metabolic risk was not supported. The relationship between family history of type 2 diabetes and measures of metabolic risk was not supported. Future research directions include the use of direct measures of stress and physical activity to further assess their role in type 2 diabetes.


Psychology, Clinical

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