Patterns and Predictors of Paternal Involvement in Early Adolescents’ Type 1 Diabetes Management Over 3 Years

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Objective To document trajectories of paternal involvement in diabetes management and examine bidirectional associations with diabetes outcomes across early adolescence. Methods 3-year prospective assessment of paternal involvement, diabetes self-management, and glycemic control among 136 youth (age 9–12 at baseline) and their mothers and fathers. Results Unconditional growth curves demonstrated decreasing amount (maternal report: F(1,128) = 14.79; paternal report: F(1,111) = 12.95, ps < 0.01) and level of contribution (maternal report: F(1,131) = 23.6, p < .01) of paternal involvement. Controlling for covariates, lower youth self-management predicted an increasing slope in fathers’ self-reported amount of involvement (b = −0.15 to −0.22, p < .05), and higher levels of fathers’ self-reported level of contribution predicted a decreasing slope in youths’ self-reported self-management (b = −0.01, p < .05). Conclusions Like mothers, fathers’ involvement declines modestly during early adolescence. Different aspects of paternal involvement influence or are influenced by youths’ self-management. Communication about ways to enhance fathers’ involvement before this transition may help prevent or reduce declining diabetes management and control common in adolescence.

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