Positive Islet Autoantibody Tests Up Parental Anxiety in T1D

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The study team examined parental anxiety in response to genetic and islet autoantibody testing in nearly 7000 children at increased genetic risk for T1D.
The study team examined parental anxiety in response to genetic and islet autoantibody testing in nearly 7000 children at increased genetic risk for T1D.

HealthDay News — Parents of children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes and with positive islet autoantibody (IA) testing have increased anxiety, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, from the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, and colleagues examined parent anxiety in response to genetic and IA testing in 6799 children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes in The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young study. Parental anxiety was assessed with the State Anxiety Inventory, which was completed when the child was 3, 6, and 15 months old, and annually thereafter. IA testing was conducted every 3 months for 4 years and every 6 months thereafter.

The researchers found that parents had high levels of anxiety in response to their child's increased genetic type 1 diabetes risk at study inception, with mothers more anxious than fathers, and parents with diabetes in the family more anxious than those without diabetes in the family. Parent anxiety decreased to normal levels in response to repeated IA-negative test results. In parents faced with an IA-positive (IA+) test result, anxiety increased; particularly high levels of anxiety were seen for parents faced with 2 or more types of IA+ results (all P <.001).

"IA+ results heighten parent anxiety, and parents faced with 2 or more types of IA+ results may experience considerable anxiety for longer periods," the authors write.

Reference

Johnson SB, Lynch KF, Roth R, Schatz D, and the TEDDY Study. My child is islet autoantibody positive: impact on parental anxiety [published online June 29, 2017]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc17-0166

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