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Diabetes Metab. 2008 Nov;34(5):473-81. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2008.03.005. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Does family cohesiveness and parental alexithymia predict glycaemic control in children and adolescents with diabetes?

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Department of Psychology and Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), 10, place Cardinal-Mercier, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.



Several studies indicate that family functioning and parental expressiveness can influence children's glycaemic control. However, previous studies have had contradictory findings. Furthermore, no previous work has simultaneously explored the mother's and father's perception of family cohesiveness together with maternal and paternal alexithymia in relation to a child's diabetic control. In this study, we examined whether the parental perception of family cohesion and the parents' degree of alexithymia could predict their child's or adolescent's glycaemic control (severe hypoglycaemia, hospitalizations for hyperglycaemia and HbA(1c)) after adjusting for demographic variables.


The study included 45 Belgian families with at least one type 1 diabetic child aged six to 18 years (25 girls and 20 boys). Parents completed demographic questionnaires about themselves and their children. Information on type 1 diabetes in their child and the family-medical history were also collected. The number of severe-hypoglycaemic events and hospitalizations for hyperglycaemia were documented for the last 12 months, as were HbA(1c) levels over the last 16 months. Finally, family cohesiveness (FACES-III) and parental alexithymia (TAS-20) were assessed.


Hierarchical regression analyses showed that the perception of family cohesion by mothers (P<0.05) was a predictor of the number of severe hypoglycaemic events in the last 12 months. Parents' demographic variables (marital and professional status, P<0.001) and maternal alexithymia (P<0.05) were found to be predictors of the number of hospitalizations for hyperglycaemia in the last 12 months. As for HbA(1c), only two parental demographic variables were significant predictors (marital and professional status, P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively).


The maternal perception of family cohesiveness and maternal alexithymia predict on glycaemic control in children and adolescents with diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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