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Arch Hellen Med, 31(5), September-October 2014, 519-533


Psychological characteristics of parents of children diagnosed with diabetes mellitus

E. Almpani,1 M. Gouva,2 E. Kotrotsiou,3 K.H. Katsanos,4 G. Hatzigeorgiou,5 E. Giagkou,6 D. Skoutelis7
1Sixth Health District Administration and "Karamandaneio" General Hospital of Patras, Patras,
2Department of Nursing, Technological Education Institute of Epirus, Ioannina,
3Department of Nursing, Technological Education Institute of Thessaly, Larissa,
4Department of Gastroenterology, University of Ioannina, Medical School, Ioannina,
5Department of Neurology, University of Thessaly, Medical School, Larissa,
6Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Ioannina, Ioannina,
7Nursing Section, "Elpis" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

Chronic diseases such as childhood diabetes mellitus (DM) constitute a challenge for both the affected children and their families. Childhood DM is characterized by complex therapeutic management and has a profound physical and psychological impact on the whole family and a number of losses for the parents. The parents of children with DM are reported to react to the diagnosis with anger, denial, frustration and depression, and the mothers differ from the fathers in their reactions. Adolescents with DM experience a very intense period, full of emotional distress and a varied range of extreme feelings, including anger, sorrow, fear and shame about their beliefs, attitudes and overall concept of their health status. It is, therefore, not unusual for a chronic disease diagnosed at this age to result in the adolescent having a negative perception of his or her body image and physical and mental abilities. For these reasons, studies in these fields should focus not only on the needs of the children/adolescents diagnosed with DM but also on the needs of their parents, so that with a global approach better control of DM and its complications may be achieved. It appears that, despite all the difficulties, the families of children with DM in general respond satisfactorily to the demands of the care of the children, and manage to deal effectively with the chronic disease.

Key words: Childhood diabetes mellitus, Distress, Parent, Psychology.

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