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Multi-informant path models of the influence of psychosocial and treatment-related variables on adherence and metabolic control in adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Lene Juel Kristensen, Niels Holtum Birkebaek, Anne Hvarregaard Mose, Morten Jensen and Mikael Thastum

PLOS ONE, 2018, vol. 13, issue 9, 1-20

Abstract: Background: We assessed the associations between metabolic control and adherence and a broad range of adolescent and family characteristics (e.g., gender, family structure), treatment-related variables (e.g., disease duration, treatment modality), and psychosocial factors (e.g., symptoms of depression and anxiety, parental support, self-efficacy) in a nationwide study of Danish adolescents (age 12–17 years) with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Methods: Sixty-four percent of invited families participated by completing a survey and providing a blood sample. Two path models of associations between generic and diabetes-related family factors, adolescent self-efficacy, emotional difficulties, and metabolic control and adherence were tested, one for adolescents and one for caregivers. Demographic variables were included as covariates. Results: Both path models demonstrated a satisfying model fit. In both models, metabolic control was associated with adherence, age, and T1DM duration. In the adolescent model, metabolic control was also related to treatment modality, single-parent household, caregiver non-support, and anxiety, whereas in the caregiver model metabolic control was associated with family conflict and caregiver support. In both models, adherence was related to age, duration, treatment modality, family conflict, caregiver support, family functioning, and emotional difficulties of the adolescent. In the adolescent model, adherence was also related to adolescent self-efficacy, whereas in the caregiver model adherence was associated with adolescent gender and caregiver non-support and support. Adolescent self-efficacy, emotional well-being, and difficulties related to adolescent/caregiver interaction appeared to be particularly important, as indicated by their stronger association with adherence and/or metabolic control. Conclusion: The results highlight the value of applying a multi-informant approach to address the psychosocial well-being of adolescents with diabetes in a large national sample. Self-efficacy, emotional, and family-related difficulties are important aspects to address in both clinical care and future research regarding adolescents with T1DM.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204176

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