Mentoring fathers of children newly diagnosed with T1DM

Susan Sullivan-Bolyai, Carol Bova, Mary Lee, Philip A. Gruppuso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To pilot test a social support intervention for fathers of children <13 years old newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). DESIGN AND METHODS: The pilot study was part of a larger randomized, controlled clinical trial. Father participants (28 fathers of children newly diagnosed) were recruited from two pediatric diabetes centers. For 12 months fathers (n = 19) and their spouses in the experimental arm received social support (home visits and phone calls). Control group fathers (n = 9) and their spouses received the phone number of an experienced parent (but not formally educated to provide social support) to call as needed. RESULTS: Fathers in the intervention group had significantly greater confidence but scored higher on worry at 12 months than control group fathers. Fathers in the two groups did not differ significantly in disease-related concerns or perceived disease impact on the family, nor did they differ significantly in perceived amount and helpfulness of their daily management. However, mothers overall perceived fathers as contributing more care and help than fathers perceived themselves (p > .10). Fathers in the experimental arm identified parent mentors as individuals they would seek advice regarding day-to-day management and community agencies. Over this 4.5 year study, 6 of 28 father participants and two of the three father mentors dropped out. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Nurses caring for families with young children newly diagnosed with T1DM should consider fathers social support needs and encourage their participation in day-to-day management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
JournalMCN The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Intervention
  • Social support for fathers
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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