Diabetes in adolescence: Effects of multifamily group intervention and parent simulation of diabetes

Wendy Satin, Annette M. La Greca, Marjorie A. Zigo, Jay S. Skyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is a complex, chronic disease that is difficult to control during adolescence. This study evaluated the effects of a 6-week, family-oriented, group intervention on adolescents' metabolic control and psychosocial and family functioning. Thirty-two families were randomly assigned to one of three groups: multifamily (MF), multi-family plus parent simulation of diabetes (MF+S), and control (C). Outcome measures included glycosylated hemoglobin (Hb Al); perceptions of diabetes; estimates of youngsters' self-care; and family functioning. Adolescents in the MF+S group displayed significant decrements in Hb Al, and adolescents in both intervention groups reported more positive perceptions of a "teen-ager with diabetes" at posttreatment, relative to controls. Adolescents participating in smaller family groups demonstrated clinically significant improvements in Hb Al that were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Parent reports suggested that adolescents in the intervention groups improved their diabetes care. Findings support the use of multifamily groups plus parent simulation of diabetes as an intervention strategy for adolescents with IDDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-275
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989


  • Adolescence
  • Diabetes
  • Family interventions
  • Simulation of diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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