OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic increased economic, social, and health stressors for families, yet its impacts on families of youth with chronic conditions, such as type 1 diabetes (T1D), are not well understood. Self-regulation (SR)-or the capacities to control emotions, cognition, and behavior in response to challenge-is known to support T1D management and coping in the face of stress. Strong SR may have protected youth with T1D from the impacts of pandemic-related stressors. This study compared youth and parent emotional functioning and T1D management before and after the pandemic's onset in relation to family pandemic-related stress and youth SR.
METHODS: Parents of youth with T1D (N = 88) and a subset of these youth (N = 43; Mean age 15.3 years [SD 2.2]) completed surveys regarding SR, stress, emotional functioning, and T1D-related functioning prior to and after March 2020. Outcomes were compared using mixed effects models adjusting for covariates. Family pandemic-related stress experiences and youth SR were tested as moderators of change.
RESULTS: Parents' responsibility for T1D management increased across pandemic onset and their diabetes-related distress decreased. Family pandemic-related stress was associated with decreased emotional functioning over time. Youth SR, particularly emotional and behavioral aspects, predicted better emotional and T1D-related functioning.
DISCUSSION: While youth with T1D whose families experienced higher pandemic-related stress had poorer adjustment, strong emotional and behavioral SR appeared to protect against worsening youth mood and adherence across pandemic onset. Both social-contextual and individual factors are important to consider when working with families managing T1D.
Journal of pediatric psychology
Miller, Alison L; Albright, Dana K. PhD; Bauer, Katherine W; Riley, Hurley O; Hilliard, Marisa E; Sturza, Julie; Kaciroti, Niko; Lo, Sharon L; Clark, Katy M; Lee, Joyce M; and Fredericks, Emily M, "Self-Regulation as a Protective Factor for Diabetes Distress and Adherence in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic." (2022). Health Services and Informatics Research. 73.