Background: Coping skills are very important for the management of developmental changes among young people, and especially so, for adolescents with chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1DM).
Objective and hypotheses: To study the various coping behaviours in a sample of children and adolescents with T1DM and to evaluate their association with metabolic control and duration of disease.
Method: The study population consisted of 65 children and adolescents with T1DM (male/female: 22/43) with a mean (±S.D.) age of 12.6 (±5.2) years, disease duration of 4.8 (±4.4) years and HbA1c of 8.1 (±1.6)%, who attended the diabetic clinic of the University Department of a Tertiary Childrens Hospital. The Ways of Coping Questionnaire (Lazarus and Folkman), adapted and standardized in Greek population, was completed by all adolescents, 36 fathers (67.9%) and 17 mothers (32.1%). Coping was categorized as: i) active coping, ii) seeking social support, iii) wishful thinking, iv) problem avoidance, and v) aggressive coping.
Results: There was a significant association between fathers and adolescents coping styles in respect of active coping (r=0.41, P=0.016) and seeking social support (r=0.38, P=0.023). Female adolescents used more the seeking social support way compared to males (1.92±0.73 vs 1.39±0.99, P=0.041). Duration of disease was positively associated with the active coping style (r=0.36, P=0.014). Mean HbA1c levels were positively correlated with aggressive coping (r=−0.36, P=0.014) and negatively associated with active coping (r=−0.31, P=0.035), which means that more constructive behavior has a positive impact on glycaemic control.
Conclusion: Active coping was associated with better metabolic control and longer diabetes duration in adolescents with T1DM. Female adolescents with T1DM used more the seeking social support strategy compared to males, which is also reported in healthy adolescents. Assessment of coping behaviour might be useful in the identification of adolescents in need of particular support and counselling.
01 Oct 2015 - 03 Oct 2015