Psychological and Family Characteristics of Adolescents with Type 2 Diabetes



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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is now increasingly diagnosed in children and adolescents at an alarming rate, especially in youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Youth diagnosed with T2DM and their families face many challenges associated with the illness and its complications. Given that the prevalence of T2DM in youth is a recent trend, most of the studies examining T2DM have been conducted with adults.

The current study expands the literature base of youth with T2DM by collecting demographic and clinical data of youth with T2DM and their families. Regression analyses were used to investigate the relationship among youth's executive function, their body mass index (BMI) and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level. Furthermore, the study analyzed the relationship among depressive symptoms and health related quality of life (HRQOL) in youth, and the role of family members in sharing of tasks related to T2DM care and the youth's HRQOL.

Results of this study demonstrated that executive function does not predict a youth's HbA1c, nor their BMI. Interestingly, one of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that youth's rating of their ability to adjust to changes in routine or task demands and their ability to modulate emotions significantly correlated with their BMI. Results also demonstrated that HbA1c does not mediate the relationship between depressive symptoms and HRQOL, nor the relationship between the family sharing of responsibilities related to T2DM tasks and HRQOL. Future research examining the relationship among psychological and family characteristics can aid the development of diabetes prevention and treatment management.