A Qualitative Study of Cognitive, Behavioral, and Psychosocial Challenges Associated With Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes in Ethnic Minority Parents and Adolescents

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The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to explore cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial challenges associated with having and/or parenting an adolescent with pediatric type 2 diabetes (T2D) from the perspectives of ethnic minority parents and adolescents.


Ethnic minority (79.2% non-Hispanic black, 29.6% Hispanic) adolescents (n = 14, 78.6% female, 14.7 ± 1.9 years) and their parents (n = 13, 100% female) participated in either individual family interviews or multifamily focus group sessions. Sessions were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded by a team of 4 raters. QSR NVivo 10 was used to perform a content analysis and to extract coded adolescent and parent responses.


Six themes corresponding to 3 broad categories (cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial challenges) emerged. Regarding cognitive challenges, families described difficulties learning about a new disease and managing youth knowledge deficits and/or superficial knowledge. In terms of behavioral challenges, parents and adolescents discussed ongoing difficulties with making and maintaining positive youth health behavior changes as well as with ensuring regimen adherence. Finally, managing youth emotions related to diabetes and navigating social relationships with peers and other family members around the disclosure of T2D were the primary psychosocial challenges to emerge.


Directions for future research include developing and evaluating brief family interventions and adolescent psychosocial screening measures. Recommendations for clinical practice include increasing family knowledge of T2D, enhancing parenting skills for managing youth behavior change, and conducting routine psychosocial screening during follow-up clinic visits.

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