This study explores the relationship of mother-daughter interaction to adherence to treatment plans among diabetic adolescents. Fifty mother-daughter dyads discussed conflict issues and feelings, problems, and concerns related to diabetes. Discussions were analyzed using the Hill Interaction Matrix and modified Beavers-Timberlawn Family Evaluation Scales. Interview questionnaires provided information on adherence, feelings, problems and concerns, parental supervision, adjustment, and family life. The less adherent the adolescent, the more emotionally charged the interaction, the more directly confrontive mother and daughter were, and the less efficient they were at negotiating issues. The adolescent's statements about herself confirmed observations that poor adherers, more than good adherers, had difficulty discussing feelings, problems, and concerns with their mothers (r = −0.51, P ≤ 0.001). Poor adherers reported believing less strongly that adherence would delay/avoid complications (r = 0.51, P ≤ 0.001), became more anxious about seeing a disabled diabetic person (r = −0.29, P ≤ 0.29), and worried more about future health (r = −0.27, P = NS). No relationships were found between adherence and adolescent-physician rapport. Many adolescents were not engaging in good self-care behaviors, were quite concerned about future health, perceived mothers to be very concerned, hesitated telling peers about their illness, and did not share deeper illness-related concerns with their closest nondiabetic friends.

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