Self-concept, attitude toward illness and family functioning in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Josephine Ho, Arden Lee, Laura Kaminsky, Elaine Wirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: The primary objective of the present study was to assess self-concept in adolescents with type 1 diabetes, and to determine whether this is associated with attitudes toward having chronic disease, family functioning or severity of diabetes. The secondary objective was to assess the impact of family income, sex, age and age at diagnosis on adolescent self-concept. Methods: A cross-sectional, self-report survey of 48 adolescents with type 1 diabetes (22 boys and 26 girls; mean ± SD age at time of study 15.2±1.7 years [range 12.2 to 18.0 years]; mean age at diagnosis 9.2±3.3 years [range 1.3 to 14.9 years]) was performed using the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept (PHCSC scale, second edition; the Child Attitude Toward Illness Scale; and the Family Assessment Measure scale, version III. Demographic information including net family income and a symptom inventory form to assess disease severity was collected. Results: Adolescents' self-concept measured by the PHCSC scale was significantly positively correlated with a more positive attitude toward chronic illness as measured by the Child Attitude Toward Illness Scale. The PHCSC scale was found to have a significant negative correlation with the Family Assessment Measure scale score, indicating that a better self-concept was correlated with enhanced family functioning. Self-concept was not significantly correlated with disease severity, income of family, sex, age at diagnosis, age at time of study, episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis or episodes of hypoglycemia. Conclusions: Adolescents with better self-concept had more positive attitudes toward their chronic illness and enhanced family functioning. Although no correlation with diabetes disease severity was seen in the study population, interventions aimed at improving adolescent self-concept may have a positive impact on diabetes treatment by improving attitude toward living with type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-604
Number of pages5
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008


  • Adolescents
  • Family functioning
  • Illness perceptions
  • Self-concept
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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