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From South Bend, Indiana, USA:

I am an OT who is working with a third grader who has a diagnosis of 'brittle diabetes'. This young man is demonstrating a lot of anger and is becoming more physically aggressive toward staff and some students. Several team members are saying it is because he is diabetic. Is there a connection between aggression and diabetes? Is there an emotional component? I have worked with several diabetics who's actions were nowhere near aggressive, upset with the limitations perhaps but not stabbing at students, head butting, screaming, etc. Is there any research out there that discusses this?


It sounds like this child needs a referral to a psychologist. Perhaps the diabetes brought out some other latent psychological or behavioral problems. This could happen with any chronic disease.

Yes, there are published studies about these issues. Start with Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge & Richard Rubin.

There are also several books available from the American Diabetes Association, including "The Human Side of Diabetes", "Caring for the Diabetic Soul: Restoring Emotional Balance for Yourself and Your Family", "Raising a Child With Diabetes: A Guide for Parents" that will discuss these issues.

Then look up "psychosocial aspects of diabetes" in PubMed for more research information.


Original posting 8 Mar 1999
Posted to Behavior and Social Issues: School and Daycare


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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