Short-term effects of coping skills training in school-age children with type 1 diabetes

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Abstract

Objective

Little is known about the use of psychosocial interventions in children younger than adolescence with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and their parents. We report preliminary short-term outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of coping skills training (CST) compared with group education (GE) in school-aged children with T1D and their parents.

Methods

One hundred and eleven children (range = 8–12 yr) with T1D for at least 6 months (3.71 ± 2.91 yr) were randomized to CST (55.6% female (F); 81.5% white (W)) or GE (69.7% F; 90.9% W). Children and parents (n = 87) who completed the intervention, baseline, 1- and 3-month data are included. Children completed measures of self-efficacy, coping, and quality of life; parents completed measures of family functioning (adaptability and cohesion), diabetes-related conflict, parent depression, and parent coping. Metabolic control was assessed with glycosylated hemoglobin A1c. Mixed-model repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze the data.

Results

CST and GE group composition was generally comparable. Children had good psychosocial adaptation and metabolic status. CST parents reported significantly more improvement in family adaptability compared with GE parents, and a trend was seen indicating that CST children showed greater improvement in life satisfaction than GE children. Effect sizes for this short-term follow-up period were small, but group participants were receptive to the intervention and reported positive gains.

Conclusions

In these preliminary results, CST and GE were more similar than different across multiple measure of psychosocial adaptation, although CST showed promising statistical trends for more adaptive family functioning and greater life satisfaction. Longer term follow-up is underway.

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