Authors: Julianna Short, Dr. Jennifer Doty
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Doty
College: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Adjusting to a child’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes cause a significant amount of stress in parents which can lead to negative health outcomes for both the child and family members as well as a decline in overall family functioning. The purpose of the research is to determine how the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes impacts the family system and identify possible support systems and coping strategies for these families. Seven interviews were conducted with parents of children with type 1 diabetes who had been diagnosed within the last three months to five years. Questions were designed to identify the most prominent stressors that families face and existing support systems. Thematic coding was used to identify common patterns and themes in these groups. The results indicate that major sources of stress for families are the unpredictability of the disease, lack of control, and the constant worry they feel over their child. Adjustment strategies found were open communication between family members, involvement with other T1D families, and maintaining a positive mindset. Future implications include the development of resources and programs that connect families with other T1D families in their community and foster healthy communication between family members.