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Parents Not Stressed by Child's Genetic Risk for Diabetes

Genetic risk, autoantibodies, being in a diabetes study didn't increase stress, but diagnosis did

MONDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with diabetes-associated autoantibodies did not report an increased level of stress until there was an actual diabetes diagnosis, according to a study in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Eszter Goldstein, M.D., of the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues administered the Parenting Stress Index self-report inventory to the parents of 664 children from the Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) study who had HLA-DQB1-conferred risk for diabetes and had tested positive for at least two diabetes-associated autoantibodies.

The researchers found that, despite their children's participation in the DIPP study, the increased risk conferred by their genes (2 to 8 percent risk of diabetes versus 0.7 percent in the background population), and the presence of at least two autoantibodies (with a diabetes risk greater than 50 percent), the parents did not report increased stress. However, an actual diabetes diagnosis did increase parental stress. In subgroup analysis, mothers had higher stress levels than fathers, as did single parents and parents with a chronically ill family member.

"In conclusion, in a large population-based cohort of children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes, parental stress was not increased by notification of autoantibody positivity or participation in the double-blinded prevention trial. The burden of risk awareness can be minimized by proper study setup," the authors write.

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