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Keywords:

  • diabetes;
  • health care professionals;
  • long-term complications;
  • survey

Objective:  Avoiding complications is paramount in diabetes management, but little is known about how, when, and what diabetes professionals disclose to parents and youths about this topic.

Research design and method:  Pediatric diabetes experts (n = 534) were surveyed about their practices and attitudes regarding informing parents and youth about long-term diabetic complications.

Results:  Professionals reported giving more information to parents, older children, and children with longer diabetes duration than younger or newly diagnosed children. Principal components analysis was completed to identify measurement factors of the attitudes about information sharing and variables affecting decision-making sections of the survey. These factor scores served as predictor variables in hierarchical multiple regression analyses. More information sharing was associated with more diabetes clinical activity, stronger sense of professional responsibility to disclose this information, less sensitivity about the emotional impact of this teaching, greater concern about exposure to inaccurate information, and less consideration of the family context (R2 = 0.282, p ≤ 0.0001). Greater propensity to share information about complications was found among health care providers who reported that they gave less consideration to such variables as the family’s prior experience with diabetes in other family members or the child’s duration of diabetes or the presence of psychiatric disorders in the child or family members.

Conclusions:  Patient characteristics and professionals’ attitudes were associated with experts’ willingness to inform families about long-term diabetic complications. Further research should explore how these practice variations affect coping with diabetes.