The role of mindfulness and,illness perceptions in psychological outcomes in parents of children with diabetes

  • S. Al-Tammar
  • P. Norman
  • A. Thompson


Background. Kuwait ranks as the third country worldwide for the incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) with an incidence of 37.10 per 100,000 children. Standardized incidents of childhood diabetes between 10.00 and 19.99 per 100,000 are considered high. Despite the high incidence rate, there are few studies examining the psychological impact of diabetes. Objective. The study sought to investigate the role of mindfulness and illness perceptions in explaining psychological distress and quality of life (QoL) in parents of children with T1D. Method. A sample of 122 Kuwaiti parents of children with T1D completed self-report measures of generalized anxiety (GAD-7),depression (PHQ-9),illness perceptions (Brief-IPQ),mindfulness (FFMQ) and QoL (WHOQOL-BREF). Results. High levels of psychological distress were observed, with 31.1% of parents reporting moderate and 19.7% reporting severe levels of anxiety. Similarly, 24.7% of parents reported moderate and 18% reported severe levels of depression. After controlling for child’s age, child’s age at diabetes onset and HbA1c, mindfulness and illness perceptions explained 40% of the variance in QoL, 47% of the variance in depression, and 35% of the variance in anxiety. Higher levels of mindfulness (Acting with awareness) were associated with lower levels of psychological distress and better QoL. More negative illness perceptions were associated with higher levels of psychological distress. Conclusion. The current findings suggest that high levels of mindfulness might help to reduce distress and improve QoL. These findings may be used develop an intervention targeting mindfulness and illness perceptions, which may be helpful for parents adapt to having a child with T1D.
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