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Diabet Med. 2007 Sep;24(9):1028-33. Epub 2007 Jun 25.

Child and parental personality are associated with glycaemic control in Type 1 diabetes.

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Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.



Little is known about the influence of the personality of the child and the personalities of the child's parents on glycaemic control in Type 1 diabetes. Our objective was to examine the extent to which glycaemic control is associated with the child's and the parents' stable personality traits, using the Big Five personality model as the basic framework.


Participants were 64 children (aged 6-16 years) with recent-onset Type 1 diabetes and their parents. Glycaemic control (HbA(1c)) was assessed at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after diagnosis; personality was assessed at 4-6 weeks, 6 months and 1 year after diagnosis. Associations of personality with mean HbA(1c) over 2 years were examined.


Children with better glycaemic control had a personality pattern of high Agreeableness, high Conscientiousness and low Neuroticism. Mothers of children with better glycaemic control showed a similar personality pattern, whereas the personality of the father was only marginally related to glycaemic control. Children's Conscientiousness and mothers' Agreeableness together predicted 18% of the variability in mean HbA(1c). All associations were unchanged when we controlled for child's age.


Glycaemic control in the child was associated with the same child and maternal personality characteristics that influence treatment adherence, health-promoting behaviours and general adjustment in adult populations. In future, studies are needed to examine attitudinal and behavioural mediators of this relationship. It is suggested that attention to the personalities of the child and the mother can help to tailor diabetes education to the individual child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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