June 22, 2006

Parents’ attitude impacts kids’ diabetes control

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diabetic school-age children
whose parents perceive them as quite capable of keeping on top
of their disease actually have poorer control of blood sugar
than kids whose parents are less confident in their children's
ability, a survey suggests.

"Some parents may perceive their children to be competent
enough to manage their diabetes, and give them more
responsibility for monitoring and treatment, when they are not
yet fully prepared," warn doctors from the UK.

Dr. H. M. Pattison, from Aston University in Birmingham,
and associates asked 51 parents, mostly mothers, of children 6
to 12 years of age with insulin-dependent diabetes to rate
their child's competence and their own competence in managing
the disease. The investigators compared these ratings with the
children's average annual hemoglobin A1c level -- a measure of
glucose control.

They report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that
higher levels of confidence and "self-efficacy" among parents
were not associated with better blood sugar control "as

On the contrary, children of parents who perceived them as
more competent to self-manage their disease, and who perceived
diabetes as less serious, had poorer control of their blood

Having confidence in one's ability to manage a disease is a
positive health belief in many ways, but in this case it may
have "counterproductive effects" on blood sugar control, the
authors note.

Diabetes has a major impact on family life, and higher
levels of confidence in managing it may be one way that
families cope with the disease and try to minimize the effect
it has on the family, "even at the expense of good glycemic
control," Pattison and colleagues warn.

SOURCE: Archives of Disease in Childhood, June 2006.