Communication matters: The role of autonomy-supportive communication by health care providers and parents in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Eveline R. Goethals, Sarah S. Jaser, Chris Verhaak, Sofie Prikken, Kristina Casteels, Koen Luyckx, Alan M. Delamater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

AIMS: Although research exists on parental communication in adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the role of communication by health care providers remains understudied. Grounded in Self-Determination Theory, this study examined the role of autonomy-supportive communication (i.e., providing meaningful rationale and offering choices with regard to treatment recommendations) by providers and parents, and how they interact in the prediction of diabetes outcomes. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 135 adolescents (mean age 14.3 ± 2.1SD years), 171 mothers, and 121 fathers reported on autonomy-supportive communication from health care providers and parents, and on adolescent treatment adherence. HbA1c values were retrieved from the medical record. RESULTS: In adolescent reports, perceived autonomy-supportive communication from providers but not from parents was positively related to treatment adherence. A significant interaction between autonomy-supportive communication from providers and parents pointed to the highest level of treatment adherence when adolescents perceived both providers and parents as autonomy-supportive. In contrast, parental reports revealed that parental autonomy-supportive communication was positively related to treatment adherence, whereas autonomy-supportive communication by providers was not. CONCLUSIONS: Autonomy-supportive communication by providers and parents is associated with better treatment adherence in adolescents with T1D. Interventions to improve autonomy-supportive communication by parents and providers may improve treatment adherence of adolescents (e.g., communication training).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalDiabetes research and clinical practice
Volume163
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Communication
  • Health care providers
  • Parents
  • Self-Determination theory
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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