Brief report: Parent perceptions of hypoglycemic symptoms of youth with diabetes; disease disclosure minimizes risk of negative evaluations


Objective: Based on a theoretical model, this study explored the effects that the disclosure of diabetes has on parental perceptions of a hypothetical child experiencing hypoglycemia. Methods: Parents (N = 610) first read vignettes that varied in a 2 x 2 design (Male vs. Female Character x Preventative Disclosure of Illness vs. Nondisclosure) and then answered several questions regarding the hypothetical child, resulting in four subscales that were validated using confirmatory factor analysis. Results: Disclosure of diabetes significantly increased perceptions of a medical problem, decreased suspicions of drug use, and presented a lower risk of parental restrictions on future contact with their child. Conclusions: Individuals who disclose their diabetes may prevent negative social consequences and restrictions on social contact. Those who choose not to disclose may risk having a hypoglycemic event perceived as a drug or alcohol problem, which may ultimately interfere with appropriate medical intervention in a hypoglycemic event.

Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Psychology