Few studies have examined the relationship between diabetes-related family conflict and parent fear of hypoglycemia (FOH) in adolescents, thus the current research evaluated this connection. This study specifically examined three subdimensions of FOH which parents of children with diabetes may experience: maintaining blood glucoses higher than medical recommendations, worrying about and/or feeling helplessness about preventing low blood glucoses, and worrying about social consequences associated with low blood glucoses.
At the baseline visit of an RCT aimed at improving health outcomes of youth with elevated A1C (9-12% in the last year) , caregivers completed the Diabetes Family Conflict Scale and the Parent Hypoglycemia Fear Survey. N=1child-caregivers dyads (child age=14.7±1.9 years, T1D duration=6.5±3.4 years, A1C=9.9±1.6%; 53% female; 77% continuous glucose monitor; 82% insulin pump) .
In three separate regression models, no child demographic or T1D clinical characteristics other than A1C were associated with family conflict. After controlling for A1C, only Worry/Helplessness About Low Blood Glucose (b=0.182; p=0.025) and Worry About Negative Social Consequences (b=0.532; p=0.008) significantly predicted parent-reported family conflict; Maintain High Blood Glucose (b=0.082; p=0.73) was not significant.
This is the first study to demonstrate that caregivers’ worry about their adolescents having low blood glucoses is associated with diabetes-specific family conflict- a common adherence barrier for adolescents with T1D and their families. This finding supports screening caregivers for fear of hypoglycemia and incorporating into treatment when providing intervention for families with high levels of conflict. Important next steps include dyadic data analysis to understand how fear of hypoglycemia symptoms among child-caregiver dyads affect family conflict.
H.Manis: Other Relationship; Abbott Diabetes. H.K.O'donnell: None. G.T.Alonso: None. S.Majidi: None. J.K.Snell-bergeon: Stock/Shareholder; GlaxoSmithKline plc. R.Wadwa: Advisory Panel; Dompé, Consultant; Beta Bionics, Inc., Other Relationship; Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc., Research Support; Dexcom, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. K.A.Driscoll: None.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DP3DK113363)