Home environment and family life play a big role in children’s health and how they manage type 1 diabetes. In fact, family conflict can negatively impact children’s health.
More about family conflict and children with type 1 diabetes
Overall, there are many children in the United States with type 1 diabetes who have a hard time controlling their blood sugar. In fact, 56% of children with type 1 diabetes and over 70% of teens with type 1 diabetes have levels that are higher than the target healthy range recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Why is it so hard for children to achieve good blood sugar levels? To answer this question, this study looked at the reasons why children are struggling to get their blood sugar in a healthy range. Some factors that make it difficult include being from a low-income family and of an ethnic minority. Other factors are living in a single parent household, lower parental involvement, and not having a regular diabetes doctor. Finally, another important factor is family conflict.
As we know, home environment and family life greatly influence our overall health. Specifically for children with type 1 diabetes, this study found that family arguments about managing diabetes can negatively impact blood sugar level. In families that had more parent-child disagreements and fights, those children were not able to control their blood sugar level as well as other families without such conflict. In addition, conflict within the family is linked to higher A1c levels and worse quality of life. Also, conflict within the family is linked to higher risk for depression and anxiety.
For Latinos, programs that help reduce family conflict are important because they could make a difference in children’s overall health. For example, a program called “Behavioral Family Systems for Diabetes” was very successful in lowering children’s A1c levels. This success was a result of training sessions with children and their families. These sessions focused on communication, problem-solving, changing attitudes, and the overall family structure as well.