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Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes: The Relationship between Parenting Support and Stress

Samantha A. Barry, PhD, Stephanie T. Melton, PhD, MA, MPH, L. Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA


Objective: The present study examines the relationship between parenting self-efficacy, social support in parenting tasks, and parenting-related stress for parents with and without type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Research Design and Methods:  Parents with and without T1D completed self-report measures addressing demographic, parenting (e.g., parental stress, support, and self-efficacy), and diabetes-related variables. One-way ANOVAs examined the effect of parent T1D diagnosis on parent demographic and parenting-related data. In addition, regression analyses examined main and interactive effects of parent T1D diagnosis and perceived parenting support in accounting for parenting stress.

Results: Parents with a T1D diagnosis self-reported more parenting-related stress than parents without a T1D diagnosis. In addition, for parents with T1D, parenting stress was significantly positively correlated with parent age at diagnosis and significantly negatively correlated with most recent HbA1c, parenting self-agency, and perceived parenting support; however, among parents without a T1D diagnosis, the relationship between parenting stress and support was null. A regression analysis examining main and interactive effects of parent T1D diagnosis and perceived parenting support on parenting stress was significant, yielding a significant two-way interaction.

Conclusions:  Results suggest that parents with T1D may experience more parenting-related stress than parents without a chronic illness. Furthermore, higher levels of social support are associated with lower levels of parenting stress for this group of parents with T1D. Thus, results underscore the importance of parenting support for parents with T1D and further emphasize the importance of continued research in the area of parenting with T1D. 

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