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Children, Diabetes, Parenting, Self-care



  1. Schmidt, Cynthia PhD, RN


Purpose: To describe mothers' perceptions of the diabetes-related self-care abilities and practices of their school-age children with Type 1 diabetes.


Study Design and Method: Qualitative study using the naturalistic inquiry method. Mothers of school-age children with diabetes were interviewed by means of a semi-structured interview guide. The children were between the ages of 11 and 12 and had been diagnosed with diabetes for a minimum of 2 years. Twelve mothers were interviewed, generating 20 hours of qualitative data.


Results: Mothers reported that their children with diabetes had learned skills in a predictable sequence, were usually motivated by events in the here and now, and did not consistently perform all diabetes-related skills of which they were capable. Most of the children were becoming embarrassed about having diabetes. There were considerable gender differences in the children's self-care development.


Clinical Implications: Nurses can use this study to help with anticipatory guidance for parents. It may be helpful for parents to know the sequence in which many children learn diabetes-related skills, and to learn that even though a child is capable of task performance, he or she may not necessarily be ready for the independent practice or daily execution of the skill. Encouraging parents to stay involved with their children's self-care practices past the early adolescent years may be effective in improving self-care practices, and helping children to identify reasons to meet the self-care demands associated with diabetes can be beneficial.