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Family Stress In Childhood Can Triple Risk of Diabetes

Experiencing serious life events in childhood such as death or illness  can triple risk of developing diabetes

Published
Lifestyle
2 min read
Family Stress In Childhood Can Triple Risk of Diabetes

Experiencing serious life events in childhood such as death or illness in the family, divorce or separation can triple the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, scientists have found.

Swedish scientists aimed to examine whether psychological stress in terms of experiences of serious life events (SLEs), along with parental perception of parenting stress and lack of social support, during the child’s first 14 years of life, may be a risk factor for developing type 1 diabetes (T1D).

The study by Linkoping University invited all families with babies born between October 1997 and September 1999 in southeast Sweden to participate.

The study subsample included 10,495 families participating in at least one of four data collections carried out when the children were between 2 and 14 years of age.

To be included in the study, the child must not have been diagnosed with T1D when participating for the first time. 58 children were subsequently diagnosed with T1D.

Family psychological stress was measured via questionnaires given to the parents assessing serious life events, parenting stress, parental worries and the parent’s social support.

The researchers found that childhood experience of a serious life event was associated with a higher risk of future diagnosis of T1D.

Children who had experienced such events were almost three times more likely to develop T1D than those who had not, even after adjustment for confounding factors (genetic predisposition to T1D, age at entry into the study, genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes, size for gestational age, the parents’ education level and whether the mother worked at least 50 per cent of full time hours before the child’s birth).

The study is published in the journal Diabetologia

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