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Absenteeism And Children With Type 1 Diabetes

A recent pilot study from Toronto, Canada, published in the November 2000 issue of Diabetes Care, investigated school attendance of children with type 1 diabetes. Researchers compared absentee rates between children with type 1 diabetes and their siblings who did not have diabetes. The results of the study showed that children with type 1 were absent 6.1 more school days than their siblings were. When days absent for diabetes appointments were subtracted, the children with diabetes still missed 3.1 more school days. While this difference was not statistically significant, the results showed some interesting observations.

Higher rates of absenteeism were found in children with diabetes in grades 1-3 than in older children, but the same was not seen in siblings who did not have diabetes. Metabolic control, as shown by HbA1c values, and duration of diabetes did not correlate with absentee rates. However, between children in the same family, there was a high degree of correlation between absenteeism and diabetes. While family functioning was not directly studied, the researchers observed that in families who coped well with diabetes management practices, children missed very little school. For kids in families who had significant difficulty in coping, absentee rates were higher in both children with diabetes and their siblings who did not have diabetes.

These finding suggest that family attitudes and coping skills regarding diabetes may contribute to absentee rates. Factors such as overprotection, parental philosophy regarding education, and the quality of communication between parents and school personnel may all play a role in school absentee rates. Therefore, the researchers propose a larger, more extensive study to investigate these issues.

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Posted 19 November 2000

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Last Updated: Thursday February 27, 2014 19:28:21
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