As part of a prospective, longitudinal study of school-aged children with newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), we examined how the parents adjusted to the illness. The present article documents this process for the first year of IDDM. We found no support for earlier claims that most parents resort to blatantly neurotic or psychopathologic behavior to cope. Instead, the initial strain of living with IDDM generally elicited mild and subclinical depression, anxiety, and overall distress. Mothers were more affected than fathers: they were more symptomatic (about one of four developed a mild grief reaction) and the bulk of them worried considerably about their children. However, the parents' initial emotional upheaval resolved in ≈6 mo; most mothers came to terms with IDDM by the end of the first year; and other areas of parental functioning (e.g., quality of their marriage) were not affected. Therefore, along with our previous report on how the children coped initially, the findings document the emotional resiliency of families during the first year of IDDM.
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Diabetes Association