Background: Diabetes distress (DD) is a negative emotional response commonly associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Similar to youth, parents may experience their own DD resulting from the burdens associated with supporting their child with T1D. Parental DD can have a negative impact on quality of life (QoL), and disruptive factors, such as family conflict, may exacerbate parental DD. Clinical and psychosocial outcomes associated with DD have been previously examined in teens, yet less is known about the association among parental DD, QoL, and diabetes outcomes in parents of teens experiencing DD.

Methods: 60 parent-teen dyads have enrolled thus far in the ongoing THR1VE! study, a positive psychology texting-based intervention. Teens (M age 16.2 ± 1.5, 68% female, M T1D duration 7.7 ± 3.9) were eligible if they reported experiencing moderate or higher DD. Parents (83% female; 78% married/partnered; 78% white) completed the Parents - Problem Areas in Diabetes, Revised Diabetes-Related Family Conflict, and Type 1 Diabetes and Life questionnaires at baseline. A1c data were gathered at routine diabetes clinic appointments or through at-home A1c kits. Associations among parental reports of DD, diabetes-related family conflict, parental QoL, and A1c were examined.

Results: Higher parental DD was positively associated with higher parent-reported family conflict (r= 0.54), lower parental QoL (r=0.63), and higher teen A1c (r=0.31). Higher parent-reported family conflict was also associated with lower QoL (r=0.40) and higher A1c (r= 0.35), all p <0.05.

Conclusion: Similar to prior findings for teens with DD, results suggest that for parents of distressed teens, parents’ own experience of DD is also related to psychosocial variables including family conflict and QoL. Importantly, parental DD is related to children’s glycemic control, suggesting that increased psychological support for parents with teens with DD is warranted.


H. Inverso: None. H. R. Moore: None. T. Morrow: None. S. S. Jaser: None. R. Streisand: None.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R01DK121316)

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at