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Increased Parental Anxiety With Increased Diabetes Risk

HealthDay News

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WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes and with positive islet autoantibody (IA) testing have increased anxiety, according to a study published online June 29 in Diabetes Care.

Suzanne Bennett Johnson, Ph.D., from the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, and colleagues examined parent anxiety in response to genetic and IA testing in 6,799 children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes in The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young study. Parental anxiety was assessed with the State Anxiety Inventory, which was completed when the child was 3, 6, and 15 months old, and annually thereafter. IA testing was conducted every three months for four years and every six months thereafter.

The researchers found that parents had high levels of anxiety in response to their child's increased genetic type 1 diabetes risk at study inception, with mothers more anxious than fathers, and parents with diabetes in the family more anxious than those without diabetes in the family. Parent anxiety decreased to normal levels in response to repeated IA-negative test results. In parents faced with an IA-positive (IA+) test result, anxiety increased; particularly high levels of anxiety were seen for parents faced with two or more types of IA+ results (all P < 0.001).

"IA+ results heighten parent anxiety, and parents faced with two or more types of IA+ results may experience considerable anxiety for longer periods," the authors write.

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