Comparison of single-mother and two-parent families on metabolic control of children with diabetes

Sanna J. Thompson, Wendy F. Auslander, Neil H. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - To understand the impact of family structure on the metabolic control of children with diabetes, we posed two research questions: 1) what are the differences in sociodemographic, family, and community factors between single-mother and two-parent families of diabetic children? and 2) to what extent do these psychosocial factors predict metabolic control among diabetic children from single-mother and two-parent families? RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - This cross-sectional study included 155 diabetic children and their mothers or other female caregivers. The children were recruited if they had been diagnosed with diabetes for at least 1 year, had no other comorbid chronic illnesses, and were younger than 18 years of age. Interviews and self-report questionnaires were used to assess individual, family, and community variables. RESULTS - The findings indicate that diabetic children from single-mother families have poorer metabolic control than do children from two-parent families. Regression models of children's metabolic control from single-mother families indicate that age and missed clinic appointments predicted HbA1c levels; however, among two-parent families, children's ethnicity and adherence to their medication regimen significantly predicted metabolic control. CONCLUSIONS - This study suggests that children from single-mother families are at risk of poorer metabolic control and that these families have more challenges to face when raising a child with a chronic illness. Implications point to a need for developing strategies sensitive to the challenges of single mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-238
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


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