Coping strategies and health-related quality of life in children with type 1 diabetes  

Vulić Prtorić A., Jović M., Padelin P., Baraban D., Grubić M., Brnović I.
First author's affiliation: University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia

We examined the differences between two groups of subjects (children with diabetes type 1 in pediatric care and healthy controls) in seven different aspects of coping strategies (problem solving, expressing feelings, avoidance, distraction, social support- friends, social support – family, cognitive restructuring). The sample consisted of 199 schoolchildren: 47 patients with diabetes type 1 as a primary complaint and 152 healthy children and adolescents in control group. Coping strategies were measured with SUO - The Coping strategies inventory for children and adolescents. SUO is the self-assessment instrument that measures the frequency of coping strategies in response to stressful events. Children’s health problems were rated with PedsQL 4.0 (Pediatric quality of life inventory - Generic score scale) and with the PedsQL Diabetes module. PedsQL Generic core scales encompass 4 aspects of health-related quality of life: physical functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning and school functioning. The PedsQL Diabetes module encompasses five scales: diabetes symptoms, treatment barriers, treatment adherence, worry and communication. Significant differences were found in four of seven coping strategies compared with healthy controls: problem solving, support from friend and family, distraction and cognitive restructuring were more common in children with diabetes. Significant gender differences were found in four coping strategies: avoidance, social support from family, expressing feelings and distraction. In all cases girls scored higher than boys. Significant correlations were found between coping strategies and different aspects of health-related quality of life in children with diabetes: expressing feelings, avoidance, and social support from friends were negatively correlated with physical and social functioning. The findings of the present study suggest that child psychologists and clinicians treating children suffering diabetes should address coping strategies related to the health-related problems.