Executive functions (EF) are a collection of effortful self-regulation abilities that control intentional behavior and promote regulation of thoughts and emotion. Parents of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are charged with organizing management of child behavior while simultaneously engaging in beneficial health behaviors, all of which involve key EF tasks (e.g., attention, self-regulation, working memory, and problem solving). As such, individual parent EF abilities likely play a significant role in children’s diabetes management and health outcomes. This study examined the relation between parent EF and glycemic control in children with T1D. Fifty-two parents of children age 2-10 (M parent age = 37.4 years, 53.8% African American, M child age = 8.0, M diabetes duration = 3.7 years) with T1D were enrolled in the cross-sectional study at a pediatric diabetes clinic. Parents completed the Working Memory Index (Arithmetic and Digit Span) of the Wechsler Adult Intellectual Scale - Fourth Edition, Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Self-Care Inventory-Parent, Center for Epidemiologic Scale - Depression and medical, psychiatric, and demographic history. Medical chart reviews were conducted to extract child glycemic control, diabetes health, and complications. Results from objective measures of EF demonstrated a positive association between Digit Span and A1C (r=-.25, p =.03), though not for Arithmetic and A1c (r = -0.14, p = 0.34). Linear regression was calculated to examine the relation between self-reported EF and adherence. Controlling for parent depressive symptoms, higher overall executive functioning was associated with higher adherence F(1, 51) = 7.78, p = .008, R2 = 0.13). There is an association between parent executive function and child glycemic control, which may be explained through differences in adherence behaviors. Future research should focus on parent EF screening in pediatric diabetes clinics and adapting cognitive interventions for this population.


C. Tully: None. S.P. Bento: None. S. Hamburger: None. M. Rose: None. R. Streisand: None.

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