Parent-Adolescent Communication and Diabetes: An Integrative Review

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This paper presents a synthesis of findings from empirical studies about communication and interaction between parents and their adolescents with diabetes. Communication between parent and adolescent is essential in transitioning the adolescent to increased responsibility for diabetes self-management. Nurses are in a pivotal position to enhance the type of parent–adolescent communication that facilitates this transition. A search of published studies from 1985 to 2006 featuring communication or interaction between parents and adolescents with type 1 diabetes was implemented through a computerized search. Papers were organized by type of evidence and were analysed sequentially. Sources were described based on data elements which were extracted. Findings in the areas of productive and problematic parent–adolescent communications were included. Data elements were compared and critiqued, noting consistencies, and findings were summarized and evaluated. Studies across several countries indicate that maternal support, conflict, control, involvement and emotional expression are important communication concepts that are linked to diabetes outcomes in adolescents. The influences of different family structures and cultural and socioeconomic circumstances, as well as developmental status and gender of adolescents on these types of communication, have not been systematically studied. Nurses caring for adolescents with type 1 diabetes need to consider family relationships and communication patterns in achieving health outcomes. Studies of communication, including perspectives of mothers and fathers, and the influence of family structure, economics and culture are needed to build a framework of parent–adolescent interaction and health outcomes for adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

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Journal of Advanced Nursing

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