Category: Parenting / Families
Purpose/Background: Type-1 diabetes (T1D) is a costly, burdensome, and chronic childhood disease that requires families to maintain an optimal blood sugar level for youth (i.e. glycemic control) through a complex medical regimen. Parenting practices are integral to youth’s psychosocial functioning as psychosocial problems are relatively common among youth adolescents with T1D; however, it is unknown if parents’ psychological flexibility (or willingness to experience unwanted private events in the service of pursing valued action) indirectly relates to youth’s psychosocial functioning through general parenting.
Methods: 165 parents of adolescents with T1D (Mage = 14 years, 51.8% Female; 52.7% African American) completed measures of youth psychosocial problems (Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17), parent’s psychological flexibility (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II), and parenting practices (Alabama Parenting Questionnaire; APQ).
Results: Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling was used to determine the optimal factor structure for parent strategies as a mediator of the relation between psychological flexibility and youth’s psychosocial functioning. After removing APQ items with low or double loadings, a three factor solution (Positive Parenting, Poor Monitoring/Supervision, and Punishment) emerged and provided a good fit to the data when modeled independently (χ2 = 169.28, df = 133, p = .018; RMSEA = .04 [90% CI = .018, .057]; CFI = .98) and jointly with psychological flexibility and youth psychosocial problems added to the measurement model (χ2 = 274.35, df = 201, p < .01; RMSEA = .046 [90% CI = .031, .059]; CFI = .968). The proposed model fit the data well (χ2 = 220.24, df = 168, p = .004; RMSEA = .043 [90% CI = .025, .057]; CFI = .977) with a significant total indirect effect of parent psychological flexibility on youth’s psychosocial problems (p < .05). More specifically, parent psychological flexibility was negatively associated with poor supervision/monitoring (p < .001) and use of punishment (p < .01). Punishment was positively associated with youth psychosocial problems (p = .004). Other paths and individual indirect effects were not significant (p > .05)
Conclusions: Consistent with studies of families without T1D, these findings highlight the importance of psychological flexibility and optimal parenting practices in the prediction of youth’s psychosocial problems. As such, attending to and possibly targeting parent psychological inflexibility as a contributor to ineffective parenting may facilitate successful family adaptation to T1D.
Kristoffer Berlin– The University of Memphis
Kimberly Klages– Graduate Student, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
Tiffany Rybak– The University of Memphis
Gabrielle Banks– The University of Memphis
Jeanelle Ali– The University of Memphis
Katherine Semenkovich– The University of Memphis
Katherine Howell– The University of Memphis
Ramin Alemzadeh– Le Bonhuer Children's Hospital
Alicia Diaz-Thomas– Le Bonhuer Children's Hospital